June 15th, 2010 5:33 pm | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Schools

Another Administrator Leaves Jefferson at Crucial Juncture

Grim Reaper at Jefferson
Aurora Lora, the top administrator at Jefferson's Young Women's Academy, announced today [PDF] she is leaving the district June 30 for a job as an executive director of K-12 education with Seattle Public Schools.

Her departure after three years at the Young Women's Academy comes at a difficult time in the history of Jefferson High School. Last week, a majority of the Portland School Board said they would support turning Jefferson's main campus into a focus school. (Community leaders have announced a protest outside Jefferson tomorrow at 9:45 am.)

It's also a critical time for the Young Women's Academy, which was supposed to have grown into a self-sufficient middle and high school but has suffered instead from low enrollment. Under Superintendent Carole Smith's April 26 high-school redesign, the Young Women's Academy entered a 60-day planning period to determine if it could become its own stand-alone focus school at Tubman. Its future as a six-12 program remains uncertain.

Administrative turnover is not new at Jefferson. In fact, it was a theme at last night's PTA meeting to discuss the high-school redesign at Jefferson, where a classroom skeleton dressed as a Grim Reaper (pictured above) stood at one entrance to the cafeteria. Tombstones with the names of former Jefferson administrators, including the principal at the now defunct Young Men's Academy who quit abruptly in 2008, lined a back wall.

Lora, who came to PPS under former Superintendent Vicki Phillips, joins another former Phillips hire at Seattle's public-school system. That's Susan Enfield, the Washington district's chief academic officer. Phillips, too, is in Seattle at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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