PPS gets a new boss

Guadalupe Guerrero. Photo from PPS website

Nineteen days prior to the first day of school, Portland Public Schools finally announced its decision for the district’s new superintendent, Guadalupe Guerrero. Guerrero, the former San Francisco Unified School District’s deputy superintendent of instruction, innovation and social justice, is the first Latino superintendent for PPS.

Board members of PPS had been looking for a superintendent for approximately four months with 40 potential candidates. The pool was then narrowed to seven candidates, and then ultimately Guerrero.

“He is very smart,” said Lincoln Principal Peyton Chapman. “He has a big personality; he was student body president [at his own high school].” Chapman took Guerrero on a tour of Lincoln when he visited on the first day of school. Guerrero will officially start work next month.

Donyall Dickey, then-Atlanta Public Schools chief of schools, was supposed to succeed former superintendent Carole Smith back in the Spring, however the district changed its mind due to a background report showing many fraudulent actions involving money. When Dickey was in his early 20’s, he was arrested for theft check, and in 2005 and 2008, he fought with the Maryland Homeowners Association for refusing to pay $3,200. He was also cited twice for driving with a suspended driver’s license in 2006.

Dickey resigned from Atlanta Public Schools in May, just after the PPS position fell through.

“It’s been hard with lack of certainty– last three years I’ve had three supervisors,” said Chapman. “There’s been lots of flux.”

According to The Oregonian, some parents remain wary of Guerrero, due to Smith’s resignation after a series of problems regarding the lead in drinking water were discovered. However, the vote to select Guerrero was unanimous, and many board members voiced their confidence in Guerrero.

Co-vice chair Julie Esparza-Brown said is “thrilled” about having Guerrero as the superintendent during the vote.

“As a Latina, and speaking for the Latino community of Portland, I think that this is a historic day,” said Esparza-Brown.

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