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Century-old St. Agatha Catholic School started the fall term with a new Principal -- Leslie Jones

DAVID F. ASHTON - New to St. Agatha Catholic School in Sellwood, this fall, is Principal Leslie Jones. Over the summer, St. Agatha Catholic School Principal Chris Harris accepted a post at St. Clare Catholic School elsewhere in Portland.

And, on July 1, the St. Agatha church and school community welcomed a new Principal, Leslie Jones, who later spoke with THE BEE as school got underway on September 8.

Principal Jones said her educational career began in 2008 at Bishop John Carroll Cathedral School in Oklahoma City. And, she comes to St. Agatha after being Principal at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Medford for the past four years.

"I have a passion for Catholic education, and I feel blessed that God has allowed me to evangelize, educate, and lead a Catholic school community; it is a calling that I am very honored to answer," Jones said.

"My hiring was a rather lengthy but fairly straightforward process involving an application, letters of recommendation, and ZOOM meetings," shared Jones. "The whole process was rather unique; because of COVID-19 restrictions, everything was done remotely.

"In the end, the main interview was done with representatives of the St. Agatha community and the Archdiocese of Portland Catholic School Department, including our pastor, Father Luan."

Although she's new to the St. Agatha Catholic School community, she is already enjoying her new post, she told THE BEE. "The St. Agatha community is so welcoming, supportive, and kind. Our students, parents, staff, and educators all share a passion for Catholic education; so, I feel like I have known this community my entire life."

Having experienced the beginning of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic at her last school, Jones said she has gained some experience with the situation. "Currently, we are offering Comprehensive Distance Learning for our kindergarten through eighth grade scholars; and, our preschool students are attending school daily.

"Comprehensive Distance Learning can be a challenge, but this community and our educators do not shy away from the challenges that we face head-on, and continue to serve, lead and grow," commented Jones. "And, our goal is to fully reopen [for on-campus learning] just as soon as the 'metrics' deem it safe; our top priority is the health and well-being of our students, families, staff and educators."

Although they couldn't hold typical back-to-school fun events this year, "With some creativity, positivity, and COVID-19 safety precautions, we did have a parent resource pick-up on September 9th in which our families drove through the parking lot, picked up student materials, and said hello to their teachers – socially distanced, of course!"

Learn more about historic St. Agatha Catholic School by visiting their website –www.stagathaschoolpdx.us


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