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Portland Public's resignations continue: top lawyer to leave after 16 years

Portland Public Schools’ General Counsel Jollee Patterson has announced her resignation. COURTESY: PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS - Portland Public Schools General Counsel Jollee Patterson announced she is leaving the district.

Patterson said she had been considering leaving the district for a while but the July 18 decision of Superintendent Carole Smith to resign became a catalyst for her to depart.

“It has been a professional privilege to serve the students, staff and families of Portland Public Schools as General Counsel for the past 16 years,” Patterson said in an e-mail to the Portland Tribune. “I have been considering making a transition for some time. With the process underway for the hiring of the interim superintendent, this is the right time for me to transition from PPS.”

Patterson added that she plans to stay until the end of August, working with Chief Financial Officer Yousef Awwad — currently acting chief executive officer — “to help ensure a smooth transition for the interim superintendent.”

The board is expected to choose an interim superintendent Aug. 11.

Patterson’s departure is the latest in a long list of high-profile resignations at the district in recent months. Director of Community Involvement and Public Affairs Jon Isaacs left at the end of April, long-time budget director and former board member David Wynde left at the end of June, spokeswomen Christine Miles and Erin Barnett left in recent weeks.

PPS board chair Tom Koehler said Patterson will be missed.

"Jollee has worked 16 years at the district and her accomplishments are numerous, including serving five different superintendents," Koehler said in a statement, adding: "Her departure provides an opportunity for evaluating how legal services are provided for PPS and I have asked our acting CEO to include the legal department in his assessment on organizational restructuring."