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May 17, 2021
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MESD Board Votes Unanimously to Hire Dr. Paul Coakley for MESD Superintendent

A portrait of Dr. Paul Coakley.

This evening, the Multnomah Education Service District Board of Directors met in special session and voted unanimously to hire Dr. Paul Coakley as the next Superintendent for MESD. 

Dr. Coakley was selected after an extensive search and hiring process that began last February and included panel interviews with staff, students, parents, community partners, and component district leaders. Dr. Coakley takes over as Superintendent of MESD following five years of Superintendent Sam Breyer’s leadership.

MESD Board Chair Kristin Cornuelle expressed the Board's enthusiasm for hiring Dr. Coakley and gratitude to Sam Breyer for his service to the district: 

"Dr. Paul Coakley has deep connections and existing relationships with our students and component districts, and has a strong commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. We believe that Paul’s depth of experience and collaborative leadership style will allow our agency to achieve successful outcomes for students, while providing a safe and positive environment for the development of our staff and teachers. Most importantly, Paul is someone who can provide our agency the opportunity to continue its growth as a regional leader and convener in the areas of racial equity and social justice.

Superintendent Sam Breyer has been a tremendous asset to the educational community during his tenure, and we will greatly miss his thoughtful approach and the integrity with which he led this district, especially during the challenges of the last year and a half. No one can replace Sam, but we have found an individual who will capitalize on the essential work MESD has begun under Sam’s leadership and take us to the next level of excellence for our students, staff, and community."

Following the Board's decision, Dr. Coakley said, “I am excited for the opportunity to lead MESD’s strong team of educators and health professionals. The variety of systems MESD provides is instrumental in supporting the county, especially during these challenging times. I believe I can build consistency while continuing the positive momentum MESD has had to date by refining systems that support all students across Multnomah County school districts. The ability to continue serving in the community that I grew up in, while potentially supporting more than 100,000 students, is something I am very passionate about."

Over the next several weeks, Dr. Coakley will be meeting with Superintendent Breyer and key stakeholders as part of the transition process. Additional details about his introduction to the agency, including visits to schools and programs, will be provided when available. Dr. Coakley begins the position as the Superintendent of MESD on July 1, 2021.

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