Each day, members of our community quietly celebrate milestones, achievements and accomplishments—big and small. This department highlights these triumphs for the community.

If you’re sending a submission, include all details that apply: individuals’ names, details of the milestone and a contact name and phone number. If you have photos, send them. The submission deadline for the January issue is Friday, Dec. 15. For best results, e-mail editor@midcountymemo.com or mail submissions to 3510 N.E. 134th Ave., Portland, OR 97230. Call 503-287-8904.

Parkrose School District Superintendent Karen Gray is the Oregon Superintendent of the Year. COURTESY PARKROSE SCHOOL DISTRICT

Parkrose School District Superintendent Karen Gray is the Oregon Superintendent of the Year.

Gray selected Oregon Superintendent of the Year 
Karen Gray, Parkrose School District superintendent since 2007, has been named the 2018 Oregon Superintendent of the Year by the Oregon Association of School Executives (OASE) and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA). This award automatically places Gray in the running for National Superintendent of the Year Award from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), sponsored by First Student, VALIC, and AASA.

“Karen Gray is one of the hardest-working superintendents in the state of Oregon,” said Darin Drill, Cascade School District superintendent and OASE president. “She is devoted to improving educational outcomes for all students across the entire state. She is highly respected by her peers, advocates tirelessly for the needs of all educators and cares deeply about every single student in her district. Her school district is fortunate to have such a talented and intelligent leader.”

Gray has been an administrator in Oregon since 1996 in the Coos Bay and Portland areas. When Gray came to Parkrose School District 10 years ago, the school board gave her the task of re-establishing the best parts of the district. Since then, Gray has worked tirelessly to close the achievement and opportunity gaps in her district by bringing in Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID programs; staff training on restorative justice; an Equity and Data Committee made up of parents, staff and helping agencies; and preschools available in three out of four elementary schools. Gray’s efforts have resulted in a high school graduation rate in the top 10 in the state, ELL scores that have improved enough that the district no longer qualifies for additional state targeted funding and significant student growth over the last four years.

“Karen’s work in Parkrose is a collaborative effort, and that has happened through her leadership and support of district administration, principals and staff. She makes a conscious effort to reflect on her practice as a leader and empowers our leadership in the district to work as a team to support our students and families. She is a champion for our kids, and it shows in her passion for the Parkrose School District,” said Michael Lopes-Serrao, assistant superintendent and director of school improvement.

Gray takes an active role in her district and community. She authors a segment of the local paper entitled “Superintendent’s Corner” and wrote a “No Hate” letter to all the parents in the Parkrose School District before the start of classes this year. Gray is committed to supporting her staff, creating choices for individual professional development opportunities and designing a new teacher mentor program.

“It’s been a pleasure working closely with Karen for six years,” said Samuel Breyer, superintendent at Multnomah Education Service District. “In every group, at every table, in every room, she is a passionate advocate for equity. She has been an unwavering voice for ensuring that we honor students’ cultures and serve all students well. Karen’s work impacts not only the students of Parkrose but also our region and the state.”

As part of her commitment to equity and diversity, Gray has chaired the Oregon Educator Equity Advisory Group and is a member of the HB 2016 Committee working to develop a P-20 plan that ensures African and African American students have academic success.

In her nomination of Gray, School Board Chair Mary Lu Baetkey emphasized the positive impact Gray has had on student lives and noted that the entire Parkrose School Board endorsed the nomination. “With steadfast determination focusing on the needs of Parkrose students, Dr. Gray has artfully and with tenacity gone about putting the pieces together,” said Baetkey. “In the last four years, there has been acceleration in moving us into another Golden Age where all can be proud of the schools they go to and the community [in which they] live. I am so proud of COSA for seeing her skills and awarding her this honor.”

Gray was honored at the 2017 Oregon School Boards Association Convention in November and will be recognized at the 2018 OASE Winter Conference in Lincoln City, Oregon, in January; the 2018 AASA National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, in February; and at the 2018 COSA Annual Conference in Seaside, Oregon, in June.

To meet the growing need, Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division has opened a second food pantry at 12436 S.E. Stark St. COURTESY PORTLAND POLICE BUREAU

To meet the growing need, Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division has opened a second food pantry at 12436 S.E. Stark St.

Sunshine Division adds pantry on Stark
The Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division has opened a second food pantry and clothing room facility at 12436 S.E. Stark St. Hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday from 9:30 until 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 until 3:30 p.m.

In response to the growing shift in poverty to the outer areas of east Portland, Sunshine Division will undergo the most significant mission-related expansion in its 95-year history by making their no-cost food and clothing assistance programs more accessible to qualifying families and individuals in east Portland.

The Southeast Stark Street location is anticipated to serve an additional 10,000 low-income families with children, seniors, veterans and disabled individuals with food and clothing assistance in its initial 12 months of operation and extend the Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct officers the ability to access services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For more information, contact Sunshine Division Executive Director Kyle Camberg at 503-577-6852 or kyle@sunshinedivision.org.