First Name


Last Name







Multnomah Education Service District

City and State

Portland, Oregon


The Multnomah Education Service District Board of Directors selected Dr. Paul E. Coakley to be the district’s Superintendent, effective July 1, 2021.
Dr. Coakley began his school administrator career in 2008 as the Principal of Hudson Park Elementary School in the Rainier School District, located in Rainier, Oregon. After six years as Principal, he became Rainier’s Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction. In 2014, Dr. Coakley was hired by Centennial School District as Assistant Superintendent/Human Resources Director. He then served as Superintendent of Centennial from 2016 to 2021. Before becoming a school administrator, Dr. Coakley taught in Portland Public Schools and in Champaign, Illinois. 
A frequent presenter at state and national conferences on a variety of education topics, Dr. Coakley is a Professor at Portland State University in the Initial Administrative Licensure program for school administrators.  He is currently the Superintendent Advisor for the Oregon State Board of Education.  Dr. Coakley also serves on the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators Equity Board.
Dr. Coakley has a Doctorate of Educational Leadership and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction, both from Portland State University.
Dr. Coakley completed Harvard University’s Advanced Educational Leadership Program in 2021. School of Education K-12 Leadership Program.

Locations of Experience
  • Portland, OR
  • Rainier, OR
  • Gresham, OR
  • Champaign, IL


I'm here because


Why me? I believe in creating educational systems that remove barriers that impede success and allow all students to strive regardless of race, gender, socio-economic status or national origin. I have dedicated my life to this work. 

Why this? As the sole African American male superintendent in the state of Oregon my journey to this role has been filled with overcoming obstacles, navigating systems, learning from others and keeping students and equity at the heart of my decisions. I have a lot to share with current and future school leaders,while also expanding my personal learnings. 

Why here? My beliefs align with the Inflexions Approach, as well as Portico’s 5 shifts, making it a natural fit for me to move forward coaching conversations with the cohort I am paired with.  The virtual model that Portico offers makes it possible for me to engage in this work as an active superintendent while also allowing me to work-life balance.

Why now? There is no time like the present.  The range of student needs is at an all time, today’s society comes with a high level of trauma on us all, combined with the educator shortage, teacher and administrator burnout is real. I intend to retain as many educators as possible through coaching conversations built on trust, support and leadership that in turn improve student outcomes, access and opportunities.


I got here through

Futuristic – I have the ability to set a clear vision for the future, explain the why of that vision in a way that others can understand, relate to and believe in, and then construct the right team for our organization to achieve that vision.

My hope for this community

My hope is that we build enough trust, confidentiality and rapport to have authentic conversations that improve practices, outcomes, systems and school cultures. 

I can support you with

Master the morning – Over the past two years I have implemented the “master the morning” practice. I wake up at 5am, two and a half hours before my kids. It was difficult at first but after about a month has become second nature. During that window of time I am able to accomplish more that many people can achieve in a day. Accomplishments include, fitness routine, preparing for meetings, organizing for the day, reading etc.)

Favorite role in education

While I have enjoyed every position I have held in education, I believe that there is a reason for every season in our lives. Each step in our career is unique and prepares us for the next step. My current position as Superintendent of Multnomah ESD is my favorite position yet. It is not a role that I would have enjoyed years ago, but now every one of my experiences has led me to be successful in my new role. I enjoy providing support and guidance to leaders across the region as well as supporting eight component districts in meeting the needs of students that they don’t have the resources to provide. We not only serve the most marginalized populations of students, we also provide an array of educational opportunities through prison and hospital programs, alternative educational settings, outdoor school, and gang outreach. This role also gives us the opportunity to create opportunities for educators to strengthen their practices and strengthen their equity muscle.

Contact Information