Breaking the news a few minutes ago, the Oregonian is reporting that Vicki Phillips - superintendent of the Portland Public Schools - is leaving.
She's reportedly going to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to head up their educational initiative. Until last fall, that program had been led by Tom Vander Ark - the former supt. of Federal Way's schools. During his seven-year tenure, he led the awarding of $3 billion in grants in the education sector alone.
From the O:
Portland Schools Superintendent Vicki Phillips has accepted a job heading up U.S. education grants for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the most powerful education jobs in the nation, The Oregonian has learned.
After inquiries from The Oregonian, the district called a news conference for 4:30 today to announce her departure. Observers have speculated almost since her arrival that Phillips wouldn't stay long in Portland, but she's repeatedly denied she planned to leave, and her announcement will come as a shock to many.
Already, folks are analyzing her tenure:
Phillips' fans will say she's leaving Portland Public poised to become the nation's premiere urban district, with stable finances, repaired relationships with the business community and legislators and a staff deeply dedicated to eliminating the achievement gap.
Her foes will point to a pile of unfinished or barely started business: stubbornly poor high school student achievement, a school choice system in need of repair and a brewing battle between district leaders and teachers over what's taught in classrooms.
Questions: What did you think of Super Vicki's tenure? What should Portland seek in a new superintendent? How will this impact the School Board races this spring - for which ballots will arrive in a matter of days?