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Centennial searches for new chief as MESD taps Breyer

BREYERSam Breyer, superintendent of the Centennial School District, will become the new superintendent of the Multnomah Educational Services district.

“We are really sorry to lose him,” said Shar Giard, chairwoman of the Centennial School Board. “They have selected an awesome candidate. The MESD is very lucky to have him.”

The Centennial board will begin the process of selecting a new superintendent at its April meeting. This marks the fifth superintendent search by the Centennial School Board in the last decade.

“We have become experts in the superintendent search,” she quipped.

The MESD board voted unanimously to offer Breyer the job, passing over the other finalist, Oregon Department of Education Assistant Superintendent David Bautista, a statewide leader in equity and English-language learning.

An educational services district provides a variety of programs to school districts such as school health services, outdoor school, some special education services, some alternative schools for students with special needs and other services.

Giard said the Centennial district may have to make arrangements for an interim superintendent because the search process generally takes nearly a year and would have had to start in the fall for a superintendent to be in place this fall.

“It is such an important position in the district,” she said.

“We’ll be fine,” she said, “even though we’re a small district, we’ve been very fortunate to find some good candidates” in the recent searches.

The MESD decision to hire Breyer, who held the Centennial post for four years, closes a nearly year-long search for a replacement for former MESD superintendent Barbara Jorgensen.

Breyer received recommendations from several corners of the county, including some of the eight MESD member superintendents, including Don Grotting, of David Douglas, Randy Trani of Corbett and Terry Brandon of Riverdale. The year without a permanent superintendent began when the county’s eight superintendents, including Breyer, recommended to the MESD board that it find a different leader.

Stephen Beaudoin, vice chair of the MESD board, acknowledged some questions in the community about Breyer being an insider, but said to his mind they were resolved “one-hundred percent.”

Beaudoin said the decision tilted to Breyer based on his experience in Multnomah County, his network and his track record as an administrator.

“Sam is a little bit understated, but he’s very sharp and he’s got a lot of humility,” Beaudoin said, noting that in a large amount of public input the board received, “There was overwhelming support and enthusiasm for Sam.”

Breyer also received an endorsement from union leaders at the MESD Employees Association.

Breyer’s district is in the middle of an $85 million bond campaign leading up to a May vote.

“I’m committed to support the district through the election. That is important to me,” Breyer told The Outlook earlier.

Portland Tribune reporter Shasta Kearns Moore contributed to this story.