Portland Public Schools announced this week the first six — with a seventh member representing the area post-secondary education arena to be named later — people named to a task force aimed at outreach and transitional help for newly hired Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk. The panel members, which were appointed by school board Chairwoman Kate Snyder, include former mayoral candidate and current BDN political analyst Ethan Strimling, as well as Portland Pirates CEO Brian Petrovek.
The team will be headed by at-large Board of Education member Jaimey Caron. Here’s his comment on the subject:
The change in district leadership gives us an opportunity to look at how we engage the community we serve — students, parents, taxpayers and businesses — with the goal of increasing opportunities for public participation and feedback. I’m very excited to work with the transition team and Mr. Caulk to strengthen the important communication needed to build and sustain a system of great schools.
The full roster, as announced this week by the district, is as follows:
- Maxwell Chikuta, a Congolese immigrant and father of four Portland students who earned a GED at Portland Adult Education and has gone on to earn associates, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
- Catherine King, an interior designer, active school volunteer and parent of two Portland elementary students.
- Brian S. Petrovek, managing owner / chief executive officer of the Portland Pirates hockey team.
- Claire Ruthenberg, a retired educator, Portland resident and parent of a Portland Public Schools graduate.
- Ethan Strimling, chief executive officer of LearningWorks and a former state senator.
- An administrator representing the post-secondary education sector, who will be named at a future date.
Snyder said in a statement many people volunteered to take part in the process:
I am so appreciative of so many people’s willingness and interest in helping to orient our new superintendent to Portland. The community’s response to the Transition Team is very encouraging. Please know that the board is dedicated, along with Mr. Caulk, to providing access points for people throughout the transition to new leadership and well beyond.
Here’s a description of the task force’s marching orders, as described by the district:
Working under Caulk’s direction, the Transition Team will help address needs, concerns and priorities of the community. The team is charged with identifying all community-based groups working in support of the Portland Public Schools and making suggestions regarding the formation of any additional community-based support necessary to improve public process and engagement toward achievement of district goals.
The team will submit a report of its findings with suggested next steps to the school board by December 31.