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District leadership roles change for principals, two central office staffers exit.

COURTESY - CuellarSummertime has marked several staffing transitions at Oregon's largest school district.

Portland Public Schools announced changes in posiitons for three principals Monday, July 22, and on the same day, confirmed the recent exit of some central office staff.

Ginger Taylor, who previously served as vice principal for Lincoln High School, will head up Access Academy- a school centered on talented and gifted (TAG) students. Access has been operating out of the Vestal Elementary School and Lane Middle School campuses.

Taylor has worked for PPS for 15 years, most recently as vice principal of Lincoln High School, where she served for the past three years, according to the district. Prior to that, she was vice principal of Summer Scholars, a program focused on helping students graduate on time. Taylor also worked in PPS as a counselor at Harriet Tubman Middle School and Benson Polytechnic High School.

"Under her leadership, PESS was credited with increasing the PPS graduation rate by 3% each year," Keeley Simpson, regional superintendent with PPS, said in a news release about Taylor's new role.

PPS also announced the addition of two new area senior directors with its Office of School Performance- Kathleen Ellwood and Kristyn Westphal.

Ellwood previously served as principal of Roseway Heights Middle School, and Westphal was principal of Hosford Middle School, the district noted. Ellwood and Westphal's position changes came as part of a "restructuring" of the district's Office of School Performance.

The announcements came after other key changes in top leadership roles at the district.

COURTESY - TaylorA month prior, in June, Kregg Cuellar was introduced as the new deputy superintendent for Instruction and School Communities. Cuellar previously served as PPS's chief of schools. He replaced Yvonne Curtis, who resigned in April. Cuellar's new role on PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero's leadership team was announced at the same time that Russell Brown, who previously worked in public schools in Baltimore and Cleveland, was named chief of systems performance.

Amid the staff shuffling, Portland Public Schools also quietly lost the bulk of its communications team in less than a month. In early July, Harry Esteve, a communications director for PPS since 2017, left the agency to take another job. Shortly afterward, Stephanie Cameron, who had been with the PPS communications team since March 2018, was also gone with no announcement.

Cameron's exit was confirmed by another staffer Monday, July 22.

During the transition period, media communication seemed to nearly grind to a halt, signaling a back-up and staffing shortage.


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