Meet the Portland school board’s 3 newest members

Photos by Christina Morales and Eder Campuzano/Staff

The Portland school board will inaugurate three new members on Tuesday, inducting two longtime public servants and a pastor to its ranks.

Andrew Scott, Michelle DePass and Eilidh Lowery will replace Julie Esparza Brown, Paul Anthony and Mike Rosen, respectively.

Scott is the deputy chief operating officer at Metro and was previously budget director for the City of Portland. He told The Oregonian/OregonLive he wants to build trust with Portland students and parents and streamline board meetings and processes over the next four years.

“The most important lesson is about public trust,” Scott said. “If the government does 10 things right, we gain a little bit of public trust, and if we do one thing wrong, we lost it all. It’s the reality.”

Scott will represent Zone 1, which covers the Sellwood neighborhood and much of Southwest Portland, including schools that feed into Wilson High.

Andrew Scott, a Portland Public Schools graduate, wants to improve systemic inequities

Andrew Scott is one of three new Portland Public Schools board members slated to start on July 1.

DePass is the community outreach and policy coordinator for the Portland Housing Bureau. She was inspired to run after the Oregon Secretary of State’s office released an audit that found Portland Public Schools systemically shortchanges students of color.

Test score data released last year also showed that only 19 percent of black boys in third grade met state standards for full proficiency in reading.

“If the statistics were reversed and it was 19 percent of white boys who could read at grade level, it would be an emergency,” DePass said. “There is just no urgency to this statistic.”

DePass will represent Zone 2, which includes inner eastside schools feeding into Jefferson and Cleveland high schools. She replaces Esparza Brown as the lone person of color on the seven-member board.

Michelle DePass, a product of Portland Public Schools, wants the district to bolster black success

She’ll be the lone person of color serving on the seven-member board come July.

Lowery, a pastor for the United Methodist Church’s Southeast Portland parish, has a daughter entering her freshman year at Cleveland High School and has long volunteered in district schools. Lowery told The Oregonian/OregonLive that she wanted to further contribute to the district, recalling the mentorship she received during her own experience in public schools.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without those mentors and teachers," she said.

Lowery will represent Zone 7, which encompasses much of the Lents, Brentwood-Darlington and Woodstock neighborhoods in Southeast Portland.

Eilidh Lowery, a Portland pastor, wants to offer more diverse electives for students

Eilidh Lowery is one of three new Portland Public Schools board members who will soon be inducted.

The Oregonian/OregonLive asked all three new board members for their thoughts on two issues the district will contend with in the coming year: The proposal of a construction bond in 2020 to address cost overruns from projects approved by voters in 2017 and how Portland Public Schools should approach coming talks with the city police bureau over the school resource officer program.

Here are their answers:

The Portland school board’s three new members weigh in on construction overruns and a potential 2020 bond

School construction costs approved by Portland voters in 2017 will exceed $1 billion, or about 25% more than district officials pitched in election material.

The Portland school board’s three new members weigh in on whether police belong in district schools

The district will renegotiate its contract with the Portland Police Bureau in 2020.

–Eder Campuzano | 503-221-4344

Do you have a tip about Portland Public Schools? Email Eder at ecampuzano@oregonian.com or message either of the social accounts above.

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