Edwards, year 2016. Photo by Julia Brim-Edwards.

Nike executive Julia Brim-Edwards had the future for Portland Public Schools in mind when she ran for a position on the school board. Citizens seemed to agree-she was elected school board chair of zone six last May.

Edwards was a student in PPS and even sent her own 3 kids through the district. She served on the board for a brief period between 2001 and 2005 where she helped the board through many financial setbacks. She also worked a great deal on the $790 million bond that would modernize schools around Portland. She had always been an engaged parent as well as an advocate of better education in PPS, and many thought she was the right person to take the lead.

From the beginning of her term, Edwards was eager to start improving PPS right away.

“I was excited to get back to work,” exclaimed Edwards. “I’m passionate about public education and wanted to put my experience to work to support all our students leaving our schools ready for college, career, and life.” And work she did. Edwards soon collaborated with fellow board members to search for a qualified, dedicated superintendent that would ensure strong leadership. She also helped create a plan to make health and safety improvements all over the district. “With school underway and a new board and superintendent in office, we are now building a plan and supports to increase graduation rates, better prepare students for their futures, ensure all students have an enriched middle school experience, and find ways to support all elementary students having access to smaller classes, art, music, PE, and career technical education classes.” said Julia.

So far, says Edwards, the reaction from the community has been very positive. “Parents and community members have stepped up to partner with the new board and superintendent to get PPS back on track and to highlight and support the excellence that we know exists in our schools.” Edwards is excited to continue work hard and help PPS reach its potential.

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