St. Helens High School Principal BG Aguirre left the school district Friday, June 23, after having accepted a new position with Portland Public Schools, which begins July 1.
Aguirre, who has been with the district since 2008, will join Portland Public Schools as the principal at Skyline School, a K-8 school in Northwest Portland, she confirmed by email with the Spotlight.
"I enjoyed my time at St Helens High School and appreciate the opportunities I was given to lead SHHS," Aguirre stated in an email to the Spotlight. "I'm very proud of all of our hard work and what we accomplished. I wish everyone the very best."
Aguirre was hired as the assistant principal at St. Helens High in 2008, a segue to her being hired as principal in 2013. In her tenure at the high school, Aguirre oversaw the implementation of several programs dedicated to helping students pursue education after high school, including a college and career readiness program and the Advancement Via Individual Determination program, or AVID, which has been grant-supported by Nike for three years.
Graduation rates at the high school have remained below state averages, but have shown trends of increasing during the 2014-15 to 2015-16 school years. Graduation rates from the 2016-17 school year have not been released by the Oregon Department of Education. Aguirre said trends of freshman who are on track to graduate have also increased in recent years.
A letter from Portland Public Schools Interim Superintendent Bob McKean dated June 2017, which was published on social media this week, announced Aguirre's hire as the lead principal of the school and highlighted some accomplishments of her career with the St. Helens School District.
Aguirre said she is also proud of being able to provide a food and clothing program for students in need by partnering with community grant providers and the Columbia Pacific Food Bank.
In April, Aguirre was the subject of criticism by some parents in the district who called for her termination after they claimed she forced Matt Morgan, the district athletic director, to retire. Aguirre said criticism had no affect on her decision to leave the district.
Aguirre, who started her career as an elementary school teacher in the Beaverton School District before moving to the Lincoln County School District as an assistant principal, said she is looking forward to the opportunity to return to an elementary school setting.
"I started out as an elementary teacher/elementary principal and always wanted to go back when the time was right," Aguirre stated in the email to the Spotlight. "I enjoyed my time in St. Helens and am looking forward to a new adventure and much shorter commute."
Aguirre said the new position will allow her to cut her commute time to and from work, and provide her more time to be with her three young children.