Paul Coakley named superintendent of Cenntennial schools

Paul CoakleyEducation Northwest  Paul Coakley, an up-and-coming 40-year-old educator, was named superintendent of Portland's Centennial school district this week. Coakley, previously the district's assistant superintendent, had been serving in role...

Paul Coakley named superintendent of Cenntennial schools

Paul CoakleyEducation Northwest 

Paul Coakley, an up-and-coming 40-year-old educator, was named superintendent of Portland's Centennial school district this week.

Coakley, previously the district's assistant superintendent, had been serving in role of interim superintendent after former superintendent Sam Breyer left to become Multnomah Education Service District superintendent last summer.

The school board had planned to open a wide-ranging search for a permanent successor. But as board members gathered input from community members about what they wanted in a superintendent and considered their own priorities, they realized Coakley's characteristics and accomplishments fit the bill extremely well.

So they offered him the job and he said yes, board chairwoman Shar Giard said.

"The school board likes the energy and steady hand he brings to the position," Giard said in a statement. "After watching Paul work and comparing what we wanted in our next superintendent, it was an easy decision to ask him if he would continue as our next superintendent."

Coakley holds a doctorate in education from Portland State University and has worked as a school administrator for 8 1/2 years, mostly as a principal of Hudson Park Elementary in the Rainier school district. Earlier, he worked as a literacy coach at Portland's King Elementary.

Coakley is the son of Paul E. Coakley Sr., who is well-known in Portland-area education circles from his years as principal at Tubman Middle School and Roosevelt High in Portland and of Gresham High. Paul E. Coakley Jr. noted that he grew up and went to school in Gresham, so he knows well the Centennial district, which is located mostly in Southeast Portland but which also stretches to Gresham.

Centennial officials say Coakley frequently is asked to presenter at state and national conferences. He also serves on the executive committee of the Oregon Leadership Network.

Coakley said in a statement that his priorities are to "keep our focus on ensuring that every child succeeds while at the same time supporting the teachers and administrators who work tirelessly on their behalf."

The school board is working out a contract with Coakley and will vote on it in a public meeting soon, officials said.

-- The Oregonian

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