David Douglas in Portland, Oregon but retired now
|City and State||
I split my time between Portland, Oregon, Black Butte, Oregon, Pacific City, Oregon and Palm Desert, California
I spent my entire career in the David Douglas School District in Portland, Oregon. I taught fourth and fifth grade and then went to the district office and was in charge of K-12 Language Arts, Title I, Early Childhood, New Teachers, and whatever else the district needed help with at the time. I then moved into the principal for 17 years in three different buildings. One building was K-6, one building was birth- Kindergarten and my final building was PK-5. All of my student populations experienced high levels of poverty and we had significant diversity; including 28 different languages. It was my joy to work with these vibrant communities and it truly was my mission to create a loving culture where significant growth could be achieved.
In addition to my teaching and administrative degrees, I have my masters in Special Education and a reading endorsement. My education, plus decades of rich experiences, epic fails and deep relationships have helped me to develop a repertoire of systems, structures and strategies that enhance equitable and inclusive practices for all children. For this work, I humbly received the Oregon Principal of the Year and Nationally Distinguished Principal of the year in 2021.
My greatest joy is to collaborate with others. In retirement, I am privileged to continue this work in multiple capacities. I am a professor for administration licensure at the university level and a consultant working with school districts both inside and outside of Oregon. It has been a joy supporting educators with leadership, inclusive/equitable practices, multi-tiered systems of support in academics, behavior and SEL and a whole bunch more. I teach the New Principal Academy for Oregon which spans both urban and rural communities. I also am the co-author of Principaled: Navigating the Leadership Learning Curve which is all about navigating the world of educational leadership. In connection with this book, I keynote, present and lead webinar series on the core topics of Reflection! Focus! Connection! Care!
|Locations of Experience||
Most of my experience is in urban settings working with a very diverse population, however, through teaching at the university level and consulting experiences I have spanned many other settings, cities and states.
|I'm here because||
My Why. . .
If You Knew Me Well, You’d Know that I am a. . .
|I got here through||
This is a great question because we will all have transitions in our career and life and it is important to be proactive and intentional about developing the skill or characteristic to optimize the transition. Below are mine:
1. Develop and nurture relationships with a variety of people that will support you, care for you, guide you . . . and have difficult conversations with you. I think that being a leader in education is the most wonderful job in all the world. . . but it is also one of the most difficult. You need people to lift you up on your darkest days and celebrate with you when you have accomplished something wonderful. Developing this network, so that you are never alone, is a critical component to surviving and thriving
2. Be vulnerable. I came from a family that had the philosophy that you never let people see you cry or sweat. Asking for help was a weakness. I tried this philosophy at the beginning of my leadership journey and I found that it didn’t work for me. I wasn’t being true to my authentic self and I wasn’t modeling what I wished my staff, students and families would do with myself and each other. I’ve done a 180 flip the past 30 years. I now am very transparent when I don’t know something and I readily ask for help. I tell my staff all the time that the sweetest words are “I need help.” This shows that you care enough to want to learn. I also tell people when I am struggling with an issue (it could be anything from the master schedule or working with a difficult parent). This openness and vulnerability has brought support and closeness with the people in my care. My mental health and physical health benefit because I can share the burden and glean fabulous advice. It also models that staff, students and families can be vulnerable with me too.
|My hope for this community||
Supporting and elevating educators is my favorite thing! I love learning someone’s story and working with them to realize their strengths and conquer struggles. My hope is that I can build a trusting and safe space for all leaders to optimally grow their leadership skills. I truly believe that “the brilliance is in the room” and sometimes it takes other people to intentionally set up experiences to draw out the brilliance.
|I can support you with||
I have stood on the shoulders of so many brilliant people to get to where I am today. I am hoping that I can provide a developed, resilient, creative, well-worn, supportive, caring shoulder for the leaders in this cohort. I have thirty years of wisdom, and mistakes, in this industry and my hope is that we can learn together and build a pathway of success for your own journey. I have always said, “What is mine is yours.” I really mean it. I hope to show you how you can research and learn best practices and then adapt them to fit your own style and setting.
|Favorite role in education||
I know it is a bit of a cop-out, but I have loved every single position that I have held. It is sort of the “love the one you’re with” philosophy. My greatest joys are teaching and connecting. I’ve been able to do that in all my positions. As long as I am helping someone (adult or child) grow then I am happy.