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Local retired superintendent to lead Portland Public Schools temporarily

PHOTO FOR THE TRIBUNE: ADAM WICKHAM - Portland Public Schools has settled on Bob McKean as their finalist for the interim superintendency.Portland Public Schools’ board has settled on Bob McKean as its interim superintendent.

McKean was east Portland's Centennial School District superintendent from 2003 to 2010 and in his retirement was co-chair of the strategic planning committee for All Hands Raised, a major charity for PPS and other Multnomah youth programs.

“Bob brings extensive experience as a manager and an educator," said PPS board chair Tom Koehler. "His record of advancing equality in education with a commitment to accountability and transparency is exactly the kind of leadership we need during this interim period as we identify the best candidate to fill the job permanently.”

According to a press release from the district, two finalists had emerged a list of 11 candidates after two days worth of marathon interviews. One of the finalists withdrew for personal reasons, according to the district, leaving McKean as the de facto appointee.

PHOTO FOR THE TRIBUNE: ADAM WICKHAM - Portland Public Schools board chair Tom Koehler introduces Bob McKean, who will likely become the district's interim superintendent.

McKean worked in education for 37 years, mostly in Montana before taking the top job for Centennial. The temporary position comes at a much greater scale for McKean. PPS serves approximately 48,000 students while Centennial has fewer than 7,000.

In a 2009 story from The Gresham Outlook, the newspaper said Centennial boosted its reading and math test scores significantly during McKean's tenure.

The superintendent also lamented the state's property-tax-based school funding system.

"The funding system in Oregon for schools is broken, and the victims are the students as is the future of the state," he said in the article.