Principal leaves Robert Gray Middle School just short of a decade in charge
Students at Robert Gray Middle School will have a new temporary principal for the rest of this school year. Beth Madison, principal since 2010, transferred to a central office job with Portland Public Schools six months short of retirement.
Madison announced her decision to spend her last months with PPS in administration in early November. Her last day as principal was Nov. 22. She's been replaced at Robert Grey by district veteran Molly Chun, who took over on Dec. 2. A new principal will be selected for the 2020-21 school year.
Robert Gray, at 5505 S.W. 23rd Ave. north of Hillsdale and west of Sunset Boulevard, was built in 1953 and was, for many years, a K-8 facility. Last year, the school included 553 middle school students, 26 teachers, two counsellors and three educational assistants as well as the principal, Madison.
In her letter to parents announcing her decision to spend her last months with the district Office of Teaching and Learning, Madison wrote, "I am very proud of what we have accomplished together here, including starting the (Advancement Via Individual Determination) initiative, founding the school's technology and drama programs, our partnerships with Concordia University and others, our schoolwide, award-winning focus on wellness and our concerted and continued efforts around sustainability."
Madison, recognized as a National Distinguished Principal, was known for her concern for the safety of students, whether the threat be bullying or traffic. In the early 2010s she joined a work crew trying to cut a safe trail to Robert Gray for students crossing Beaverton Hillsdale Highway from the south. She fell on the slippery slope and injured her elbow but was on the site a few years later for the dedication of a new, safer trail and stairway.
Molly Chun is coming out of retirement as a placeholder principal. She has served in a number of administrative roles and as a principal.
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