PPS fills long-vacant chief of staff position
This story has been updated from its original version.
Portland Public Schools announced Tuesday it has filled the long-vacant position for chief of staff to the superintendent with Metro staffer Stephanie Soden.
The district has been missing a permanent chief of staff since Amanda Whalen left Feb. 10. This was part of a rash of administrative departures in the large urban district in 2016 and 2017. Sascha Perrins initially filled the chief of staff position on an interim basis, but he left for a job at Multnomah Education Service District over the summer.
Soden is currently chief policy advisory and chief of staff to Metro Council President Tom Hughes and will start at PPS on Jan. 10. She has worked at the regional government for almost 10 years, starting as a communications manager. She also has communications and community organizing experience at the Oregon Department of Justice, the governor's office and Multnomah County. According to LinkedIn, she graduated from Portland's Concordia University and Eugene's University of Oregon.
"It's an honor to join the leadership team at PPS," said Soden in a statement released by the district. "I'm excited by Guadalupe's vision, the Board's dedication, the unbridled commitment by teachers and staff, and the support of our community."
Soden is a parent in the district and Superintendent Guadaloupe Guerrero said he was happy that she answered the "call to action" as the new permanent superintendent attempts to rebuild the administration.
"Stephanie understands the importance of engaging all stakeholders," Guerrero said in a statement.
More members of Guerrero's leadership team are expected to be announced soon. On Dec. 18, the district announced the addition of Yvonne Curtis, Forest Grove School District's embattled superintendent, as the incoming deputy superintendent of instruction and school communities. Kylie Rogers, the district's new human resources director, started in September. The general counsel position is vacant again after Jim Harris resigned in late November after five months; Elizabeth Large is filling that role on an interim basis. The district's business-side manager, Yousef Awwad was fired as deputy chief executive officer Nov. 9, however, a spokesman said that position may be restructured.
Soden's starting salary will be $159,000. Whalen's salary was $138,913.
UPDATE (1/3/18): Soden's salary information was added. Rogers' start date was added. The interim general counsel was added. The sentence on Yousef Awwad was changed to clarify that his former position is not "vacant" as it may be restructured.