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The Centennial graduate replaces Paul Coakley who will take the top spot at MESD

COURTESY PHOTO: CENTENNIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT - James Owens

James Owens has been tapped as the Centennial School District's new superintendent, replacing Paul Coakley, who is leaving to become superintendent at the Multnomah Education Service District.

"As I enter my tenth year as an administrator in Centennial this next year, I am proud of the relationships I have developed with our staff, students and community, the positive momentum that has developed during my time, both as principal at Butler Creek and currently as assistant superintendent and director of human resources," Owens said at a Centennial School Board meeting following his appointment.

"I look forward to the opportunity to continue to work with our Centennial community to support our students' growth and development," he said.

Owens, who graduated from Centennial High School, has been the assistant superintendent and director of human resources in the Centennial district since 2016.

"As a student of Centennial schools myself, it has always been my goal to serve in the community where I grew up," Owens said.

Prior to becoming assistant superintendent, Owens was principal of Butler Creek Elementary school from 2012-15 and prior to that an elementary school teacher in the Reynolds School District.

He'll have a lot on his plate. The 5,700 student district is renovating its aging buildings, funded by a $65 million bond.

Oliver Elementary School will revert back to a middle school to facilitate the district's plans to move sixth graders from elementary to middle schools. That will mean redrawing district attendance boundaries.

Two key administrative positions also need to be filled in Centennial. Tina Acker the director of curriculum and student learning is leaving the district and Director of Communications, Carol Fenstermacher is retiring.

And, Centennial, like other districts, will have to plan for a reopening of school in the fall.

Owens has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Oregon State University and a master's degree in teaching and his administrator's license from Lewis & Clark College.

Owens will take the reins of the district July 1.


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