GSE alumna Heather Yount named Principal of the Year

YountFruitdale Elementary School’s Heather Yount, IAL ’08, CAL ’12, has been named Oregon’s 2016 National Distinguished Principal. She was honored by the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) and the Oregon Elementary School Principals Association (OESPA) at the annual COSA conference in Seaside, Oregon. Yount, who is from Grants Pass, is a graduate of PSU’s Initial and Continuing Administrator programs. She has worked for Three Rivers School District for 17 years.

Under her leadership, in 2014–15, Fruitdale Elementary became one of Oregon’s Model Schools. Model schools are high-poverty schools rated in the top 5 percent of achievement in the state. Fruitdale students have made remarkable gains in English language arts, math, and science. Continue reading

GSE alumna Margaret Calvert named Oregon High School Principal of the Year

Jefferson High School Principal Margaret Calvert, IAL ’08, is Oregon’s 2016 High School Principal of the Year. She was selected by the Oregon Association of Secondary School Administrators (OASSA) and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA). She is a graduate of the PSU Initial Administrator Licensure program and will complete the Continuing Administrator Licensure program this spring.

Margaret Calvert Wins

Margaret Calvert, IAL ’08, Oregon High School Principal of the Year (with flowers); with (L–R) Carol Campbell (Grant HS principal), Payton Chapman, (Lincoln HS principal), and Craig Hawkins, COSA executive director.

Calvert taught at Rex Putnam, Wilson, and Grant High Schools before coming to Jefferson in 2008. She was named principal in 2011. She is a former math teacher and lives with her family in the Jefferson attendance area. She stood out for her work, dedication to students, and support of colleagues. This is her first job as an administrator. She was nominated for the award by her entire staff.

“She has been instrumental in creating a culture of high expectations for students in which staff members identify, encourage, and support individual students to get them to their potential,” Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carol Smith said in a statement to district employees.

In 2010, only 50 percent of Jefferson’s seniors graduated on time. Today, that number has increased dramatically to 80 percent. It’s a remarkable accomplishment in just five years for a school that the district had considered closing in 2010.

Calvert was primarily responsible for the conversion of Jefferson High School into a community college magnate school for the district. Portland Community College (PCC) provides college credit for classes taught on the Jefferson campus and offers access to PCC Cascade Campus where Jefferson students may take additional college classes for free. Jefferson students are able to continue for a bachelor’s degree as well—at Portland State University, Oregon State University, University of Oregon, Warner Pacific College, Pacific University, or Willamette University—under an agreement that provides scholarships, financial aid, and gap funding.

Calvert will be honored at the statewide annual conference for COSA in June and will be eligible for the NASSP National Principal of the Year award that is announced in Washington, DC, in September.

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GSE alumnus to head Oregon Department of Education

Salam NoorSalam Noor, ‘12, will take the top job at the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), appointed by Governor Kate Brown to succeed Rob Saxon as deputy superintendent of public instruction. Saxon, who held the post for three years, is retiring and will work part-time for the Northwest Regional Education Service District.

Noor is currently the director of academic planning and policy at the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC), where he coordinates academic programs and degree pathways for Oregon universities. But it was his previous 12 years of service at ODE that made him the logical candidate for the deputy post. At ODE, he served for six years as assistant superintendent in the Office of Educational Improvement. This was during a critical time of change for education in the state. Noor led the transformation of the Oregon High School Graduation Standards and the development of a powerful, statewide early reading and literacy initiative. He was also responsible for implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act in Oregon and for the state’s Closing the Achievement Gap initiative. Continue reading

GSE grad named 2015 Oregon High School Principal of the Year

Starla Pointer / News-Register

McMinnville High School Principal Kris Olsen, CAL ’01, has been named Oregon’s High School Principal of the Year. He is a graduate of PSU’s first Willamette Valley cohort group. Faculty members Dan Johnson and Wink Miller led this cohort as part of PSU’s Continuing Administrator Licensure program, which has many accomplished graduates in administrator positions throughout Oregon.

Olsen began his career in education as a middle school teacher and coach in Amity and Woodburn and then served as an assistant principal at Central High School in Independence. He joined the McMinnville district in 1994 as a middle school principal. He left in 1999 to become principal at South Salem High School and then returned as McMinnville High School principal in 2003. Continue reading

PSU alumnus Gustavo Balderas named Eugene superintendent

Gustavo BalderasDr. Gustavo (Gus) Balderas, a 2001 graduate of the PSU Master in Curriculum and Instruction program, has been selected as the new superintendent of Eugene 4J School District. He is originally from Nyssa near the Oregon/Idaho border and attended Western Oregon State College and Portland State University. He did both his Initial and his Continuing Administrator Licensure at Portland State. His doctorate is from the University of Oregon. He is currently superintendent of Ocean View School District in California and will take over for Superintendent Sheldon Berman in Eugene on July 1.

Balderas has been in education for 23 years, 17 of those in the Hillsboro School District. He has served as a teacher, school principal, counselor, and assistant superintendent. He brings a solid history of work around diversity and cultural proficiency. He is a co-founder and past president of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators (OALA), and a past member of the Oregon Leadership Network (OLN).

The Eugene School District is the seventh-largest district in Oregon, with over 17,000 students in 18 elementary schools, two K–8 programs, seven middle schools, and four comprehensive high schools.

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Randy Schild named 2015 Oregon Superintendent of the Year

Randy SchildPSU/GSE alumnus Randy Schild ’94, ’96, ’01, is the 2015 Oregon Superintendent of the Year. He is a graduate of both GSE Educational Administrator programs, IAL and CAL, and holds an MST from the PSU’s School of Business Administration. He is the superintendent of Tillamook School District.

Not too many superintendents can say this, but Randy Schild actually attended first grade through high school in his district. He left town briefly to earn his degrees at PSU, then returned as a business teacher, coach, and administrator before becoming superintendent 14 years ago. Continue reading