Two Multnomah County Commissioners were among the 130 community leaders who stepped away from their own jobs Oct. 12 to serve as Principal for Almost a Day.
Commissioner Sharon Meieran joined Markham Elementary principal Shawn Garnett in Southwest Portland where more than 430 students are enrolled in K-8th grades.
Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson worked alongside Creston Elementary interim principal Krista Blovad. About 350 students attend the K-8th grade school in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood in Southeast Portland.
The two county leaders were among those visiting 113 schools and five school district offices during the morning event. Community leaders visited Centennial, David Douglas, Parkrose, Portland Public and Reynolds school districts.
For 17 years, the non-profit All Hands Raised has coordinated the event to build understanding, awareness and partnerships between the community and the schools.
"Working as Principal for a Day at Markham Elementary in SW Portland was wonderful,’’ said Commissioner Meieran. “I was able to observe how students respond to Markham's holistic and supportive approach to education. And I was so impressed with and inspired by Markham Principal Shawn Garnett's warmth and deep commitment to students, parents and staff."
For Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, it was her second visit to a school that week. On Oct. 10, she visited Margaret Scott Elementary with Oregon Rep. Diego Hernandez to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month.
The commissioner read "She Persisted,’’ written by former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton. It features the stories of 13 women leaders, including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The first justice of Latina heritage, she is the daughter of Puerto Rican parents. She attended Princeton University and Yale Law School before serving in numerous judicial roles until 2009 when she was appointed to the high court by President Barack Obama.
“I appreciate the chance to visit schools and experience what’s happening in the classroom,” said Commissioner Vega Pederson. “This was my third year being Principal for Almost a Day. Each year I’m impressed by the hard work in supporting students with all the complexities of growing up today. Principal Blovad and her team are great examples of this dedication.”
According to a spokeswoman, All Hands Raised works to bring together the leaders of six school districts with “leaders from the county, the city, businesses, nonprofits and higher education to help individuals and organizations understand how they fit together to create change.’’