Three days after members of the Portland School Board issued one of their harshest assessments
ever of a district program, the director of that program -- Diana Fernandez of the district's department of English as a second language
-- is on paid administrative leave.
The following email went out to Portland Public Schools principals this afternoon from Carla Randall, the district' chief academic officer.
I am writing to inform you of a change in leadership in the district's ESL/Immersion department. ESL Director Diana Fernandez is currently on leave. Angela Eddy de Sandino is stepping in as interim director.
We intend to begin a search for a permanent ESL director in January. Angela will bridge the leadership gap until a new director is hired. She is committed to the educational success of our English language learner students, ensuring that they meet milestones on pace with other students and that our school district closes our persistent and unacceptable achievement gap. Angela will play an important role in implementing the ESL action plan, and in bringing needed changes to the department.
Angela brings a wealth of experience to the ESL/Immersion department. An ESL program administrator for PPS since November 2009, Angela served as the assistant director for ESL and migrant education in Beaverton from 2006-2009. Since 1989, Angela has worked as an ESL teacher, Spanish teacher and program administrator in the Portland metro area and abroad.
Angela earned her BA in Spanish/Anthropology and teaching credential from the University of Oregon and MA in curriculum and instruction from Michigan State University.
Please offer your full support to Angela and to all the staff in the ESL/Immersion department as we all work to improve our support to students learning English in PPS.
On Tuesday, School Board members voted to make improving the ESL department a top priority. Last spring, they voted to end Fernandez's contract. However, that move wouldn't have prevented her from finishing the school year as the ESL department's director.
Today's move means Fernandez will not do that.