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Centennial's Breyer to head Multnomah Education Service District

Unanimous board decision Tuesday evening seals deal

Centennial School District Superintendent Sam Breyer will move up to head Multnomah Education Service District in June, the school board decided unanimously Tuesday evening.

The decision closes a nearly year-long search for a replacement for Barbara Jorgensen.Sam Breyer

“I think anyone will tell you it was an exhaustive process,” said Stephen Marc Beaudoin, vice-chair of the board and head of the search committee. “I got pretty emotional last night offering him the position because there was a real relief in finishing this process.”

Breyer received recommendations from several corners of the county, including constituent district superintendents 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.

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

In its decision, the board passed over finalist Oregon Department of Education Assistant Superintendent David Bautista, a statewide leader in equity and English-language learning.

Beaudoin said the decision tilted to Breyer based on his experience in Multnomah, 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.

Bond campaign

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

“It’s a tough position for me just because I serve a great district,” Breyer previously told the Portland Tribune. The superintendent has been in that position for four years, and began his teaching career as a kindergarten teacher at East Gresham Elementary.

Breyer was not immediately available for comment following the decision but has previously told the Portland Tribune that he intends to put all of his focus toward the bond effort through the end of his tenure as Centennial superintendent.

Breyer said one of his primary goals is “restoring the reputation” of the umbrella school services district that has faced a number of controversies in recent years.

Beaudoin also said he expects Breyer to help the district develop a strategic plan.

“There’s a real thirst from our component districts to have a longer term plan and to have some vision,” he said.

Shasta Kearns Moore
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