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Portland Public Schools Superintendent Selection Criteria

Proposed selection criteria for Portland Public Schools Superintendent for 2007 and the selection criteria that were used in 2003 when Superintendent Vicki Phillips was hired.



The following criteria will be used to screen, evaluate, and select a new superintendent for Portland Public Schools (PPS). The School Board would like to thank the hundreds of students, parents, PPS staff, and community members who provided input to the board through community meetings and a survey.

Commitment to Public Education
Candidate must demonstrate a deep, personal commitment to public education that puts students' needs first.

Commitment to Raising Student Achievement
Candidate must possess the skills to ensure that the entire school district works effectively to improve achievement for all students, to push excelling learners to the next level, and to prepare every student for success after graduation. Candidate must support the belief that student achievement is about more than just standardized test scores.

Demonstrated Experience Closing the Achievement Gap
Candidate must believe that every child can and will succeed regardless of his/her circumstances and must possess the skills to create the conditions where this happens within PPS. Candidate should be able to articulate strategies and demonstrate results eliminating systemic inequities that impair a student's ability to succeed.

Commitment to Community Engagement
Candidate must demonstrate a willingness to understand the particular culture of PPS and Portland. Candidate must also have the predisposition, desire, and ability to proactively engage students, parents, teachers, principals, support staff, local governments, education-related organizations, minority representatives, the business community, and various community stakeholders in authentic dialogue and partnerships. Candidate should possess the courage to make decisions that move processes forward.

Strong Community Leader
Candidate must possess excellent interpersonal, communication, and political skills to assume an active leadership role in the city, state, and region on funding, infrastructure, and other education-related issues. Candidate must effectively serve in partnership with the School Board as ambassador for the school district and for public education in Oregon.

Experience with Diverse Populations
Candidate must demonstrate experience embracing and promoting equity and diversity. Candidate should have a record of successfully engaging diverse racial, economic, and multi-cultural communities as partners in meeting the challenges faced by an urban school district.

Experience Leading and Managing a Complex Organization
Candidate must possess at least five years of executive-level experience directing operations in a collaborative manner that creates and maintains a healthy learning organization, develops internal staff capacity, and inspires trust at all levels. Candidate’s experience should also include data-driven decision-making. Candidate must embrace the PPS’ Strategic Plan, lead effective implementation of current initiatives, and engage stakeholders in future strategies. Candidate must work to maintain a healthy and close partnership with the elected school board; support the work of teachers, principals, and staff at each school; and work effectively with employee unions.

Fiscally Responsible
Candidate must be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars and have a demonstrated record of fiscal responsibility and operational oversight that assures accountability for results at all levels.

Required Education
Candidate must have a master’s degree in education, public or business administration or related fields; an earned doctorate is preferred.

For more information on the superintendent search process, visit


The following criteria will be used for recruiting, screening, evaluating and selecting a new superintendent:

Direction of PPS.  Candidate must have a deep personal commitment to the values of public education and an understanding of the School Board’s theory of action and change.  The candidate must embrace the vision of the PPS strategic plan and provide the leadership to implement that plan together with the students, teachers, principals, parents and supporters of the school district.
Student Achievement.  This is the centerpiece of the strategic plan, and the candidate must possess the abilities, skills, and commitment to focus on improving student achievement for all students and eliminating the achievement gap between high-performing students and schools and low-achieving students and schools.

Organizational and Collaborative Leadership.  Candidate must demonstrate the leadership and organizational competence to align and staff central district administrative operations to support the core educational mission of the district.  The candidate must be an empowering and inclusive leader who can create a healthy learning organization, system-wide and that supports the work of teachers and principals at each school site.  To successfully lead PPS, candidate must accept the superintendency with a deep commitment to Portland’s children and the community.
Background in Diverse Populations.  Candidate must have demonstrated experience in embracing and promoting diversity; and working well in diverse economic and multi-cultural communities, preferably in an urban setting, and in diverse environments within an organization and a community.
Compelling Community Leader.  Candidate must possess excellent interpersonal, communication and political skills that will unify, motivate others and inspire confidence and trust among the customers (students, parents), with school district employees and their professional associations (teachers, principals, administrators, classified, and contracted workers), and in the community at large.  The candidate must demonstrate the ability to work with the community-based, elected School Board and oversee successful collective bargaining negotiations and relationships; as well as the capacity to take an active leadership role in the political processes in the state and region on funding and education-related issues, including building partnerships with internal and external stakeholders and supporters. 
Management, Accountability and Fiscal Responsibility.  Candidate must have a demonstrated record of ensuring fiscal responsibility and data-driven decision-making, building and managing a highly competent team to oversee daily operations and finances of the district, and increasing accountability for results at all levels, which will allow the School Board to focus on policymaking and governance. 

Minimal Education and Experience.  Candidate must have a master’s degree in education, public or business administration or other related fields; an earned doctorate preferred.  In addition, the candidate must have five years of executive-level experience managing a complex and diverse institution.

Adopted by Portland Public Schools Board of Education – 11/24/03

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