Tuesday, April 16, 2024

New Oregon education leader prioritizes student support, accountability.

When Charlene Williams was principal of Roosevelt High School in North Portland, she prioritized transparency and community engagement. She wanted to dispel urban legends, misunderstandings, and stereotypes surrounding the school, and she actively sought public input and feedback. Williams even opened the doors of the school once a week, inviting anyone to come and observe the school’s environment for themselves. She believed that being open and transparent about the school’s operations was crucial for building trust and improving educational outcomes.

Williams secured a $7.7 million federal grant in 2010 to transform Roosevelt High School and implemented various initiatives to increase graduation rates and academic performance, particularly for students from low-income households and students of color.

Currently serving as the interim director of the Oregon Department of Education, Williams aims to bring the same approach of transparency, care, and collaboration to her new role. Her decisions will impact around 550,000 students from diverse districts across the state.

Charlene Williams is the new director of the Oregon Department of Education. She started the job in July. In her first year, she plans to visit schools across the state.

Elizabeth Miller / OPB

Williams, although still awaiting confirmation by the Oregon Senate, acknowledges the challenging circumstances she faces. Oregon’s education system has grappled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a decline in student academic progress and attendance rates.

Despite these challenges, Williams remains committed to prioritizing early learning and literacy work in collaboration with Gov. Tina Kotek’s office. Additionally, she aims to address achievement gaps, promote inclusivity in schools, and tend to students’ social-emotional needs in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Williams plans to embark on a series of visits to schools across Oregon, beginning with meetings in Malheur County. She intends to gain insights from educators, superintendents, and students to better understand their needs and improve educational outcomes.

The Year Ahead

Williams will focus on supporting schools and holding the education system accountable. She emphasizes the importance of addressing students’ social-emotional needs and implementing research-based practices to foster academic growth.

As the new director of the Oregon Department of Education, Williams envisions her role as that of a conductor, guiding various stakeholders to work in sync and achieve the state’s educational objectives. She aims to create an environment where students can thrive academically, feel validated in their identities, and have their unique assets celebrated.

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About Casper Wong

Casper Wong is an experienced blogger who specializes in education and career development. His blog posts are a valuable resource for individuals seeking guidance on how to succeed in their academic and professional pursuits. With a wealth of knowledge and insights, Casper empowers his readers to reach their full potential and achieve their career goals. Follow him to discover the keys to lifelong learning and career success.

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