Ruth Adkins, a two-term member of the Portland School Board, has announced she won't run for a third term.
Adkins' announcement follows the news Monday, as first reported by WW, that Portland State University professor Julie Esparza Brown would enter the race for Adkins' seat.
Adkins' departure is both expected and surprising.
The volunteer position is incredibly time-consuming and two terms is typically most members' limit. But her departure comes as Superintendent Carole Smith embarks on reforms that Adkins has embraced. She would not be able to see those reforms — boundary changes and curbs on student transfers—implemented. (The board is scheduled to vote tonight on the transfer issue.)
Here is Adkins' announcement on Facebook, where she also announced her support for Brown:
Dear friends:After much consideration, I have decided not to seek a third term on the Portland Public School Board. I am very proud of the great work happening in PPS to serve our 48,000 students, and will regret no longer playing a role in the ongoing positive momentum we are seeing for our students, under the superb leadership of Superintendent Carole Smith. However, after nearly 8 years of service in this highly stressful and demanding volunteer position, I need to step away and focus on my personal and professional life, above all my family.I am delighted to announce my endorsement of an outstanding candidate to take my place in the Zone 1 board position: Julie Esparza Brown. Julie is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University. She has spent the last 17 years focused on preparing English as a Second Language and bilingual teachers and, most recently, bilingual special education teachers. Prior to becoming a professor, Julie spent 15 years teaching bilingual education and special education in public schools, and worked as a bilingual school psychologist. Her expertise as an educator will be a huge asset to the Board and the district as we continue to focus on equity and excellence for all students. Julie is a strong, wise, brilliant woman and a mom of three grown children. She is collaborative, brings many years of experience in education, and is passionately committed to making our schools better for all children. Please join me in supporting Julie: check out her Facebook page, and donate to her grassroots, citywide campaign.It has been an honor to serve as the director from Zone 1 (SW Portland and part of SE) since 2007. While I obviously do not take personal credit for the positive changes during my tenure on the Board - it has been a massive, collective effort by board members, the Superintendent, and the entire PPS team at all levels of the district, including our students, teachers, parents, and the whole community - I am very proud of our many accomplishments over the past 8 years, including these key highlights:
* Hiring and retaining Superintendent Carole Smith, whose courageous, skilled, and steady leadership over the past 8 years has transformed our district * Significant and steady increase in the high school graduation rate - up by 14 percentage points in four years * Passage of the Racial Educational Equity Policy and a steady transformation in the culture of the district to use a racial equity lens in operations and decision making * Establishment of the Milestones framework with key benchmarks - focused on raising achievement for all students while accelerating achievement for historically underserved students * Voter renewal of the Local Option Levy, which provides funding for hundreds of teachers * Voter approval of the $482 million capital bond to begin rebuilding and modernizing our schools * Historic reforms to the teachersâ contract, including a vastly improved evaluation process and changes to help us hire and place the best teachers in every classroom * Careful financial stewardship through years of painful budget cuts, including maintaining prudent reserves, consistently âcleanâ external audits, and strategically focused investments to support success for all students.I am grateful to everyone who has helped me along my journey of school board service - to the voters, to my Board colleagues over the past 8 years, to the amazing Carole Smith, to our wonderful and hardworking PPS staff, students, and community partners, and most of all, to my husband Todd, my three daughters, and family and friends who have supported me every step of the way. Hereâs to the success of all Portlandâs children, now and in the future!Sincerely, Ruth Adkins