Nike Executive Under Consideration for Interim Superintendent Post

Former board chair Julia Brim-Edwards, a longtime advocate for Portland schools, is the first name to surface to replace Carole Smith.

Julia Brim-Edwards, Nike's senior director for global government and public affairs, is under consideration for Portland Public Schools' interim superintendent post, sources confirmed this morning.

Brim-Edwards, who been a long-time advocate for schools, once served as chairwoman of the Portland School Board and on former Gov. John Kitzhaber's Oregon Education Investment Board.

The board's private discussions about Brim-Edwards spilled into the public at the Tuesday night board meeting.

After Superintendent Carole Smith abruptly left her job on Monday following the release of a damning report about PPS's mismanagement, the board has been left scrambling to fill the leadership post. Board Chairman Tom Koehler said Tuesday he hopes to do so by Aug. 11.

Public testimony alluded to, though did not name, Brim-Edwards.

"We are not Nike," said Belinda Reagan, president of Portland Federation of School Professionals, which represents more than 1,400 school secretaries, educational assistants and clerks, in her testimony, arguing that the interim superintendent should be a "placeholder" and not make radical changes.

She declined to specify whom she meant, but others confirmed to WW that Brim-Edwards is under consideration. Brim-Edwards declined to comment.

One source says Brim-Edwards has three votes on the board, but in public discussions last night three board members–Amy Kohnstamm, Julie Esparza Brown and Paul Anthony–said they preferred someone whose work experience is in education.

In 2013, Brim-Edwards was part of a parents coalition (that also included current board members Mike Rosen and Kohnstamm) that pushed a reluctant Smith to increase instructional time for high school students. In 2014, the Oregon Department of Education ruled PPS had violated state law for three years by shortchanging high school students when it came to class time. The coalition's advocacy forced PPS to make changes.