Asumag 5016 Donyall Dickey

Sole finalist for Portland (Ore.) superintendent won't get job

May 5, 2017
Portland board concludes that Donyall Dickey, an administrator for Atlanta Public Schools, was not a good fit to run the school system.

The lone finalist to become superintendent of the Portland (Ore.) school district will not be getting the job.

Donyall Dickey
The Portland Oregonian reports that the district's selection of Donyall Dickey, the chief of schools and academics for Atlanta Public Schools, fell apart because the school board and Dickey reached "a mutual understanding that our expectations for the job were not in complete alignment," Portland Public Schools chairman Tom Koehler says.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Dickey would pursue other education opportunities.

“After deep reflection I have decided to pursue other PreK-12 opportunities and to continue my consulting work, supporting other school districts in their effort to implement reforms that improve achievement for all students,” Dickey said in a withdrawal letter to the Portland board.

The news came two months after the Portland board announced that Dickey was its choice for lone finalist. Board members would not disclose what they had learned that soured them on the selection, but members said they were highly confident they had made the right choice not to hire him.

Interim Superintendent Bob McKean says he will not stay on after his contract runs out at the beginning of July, but he will be available for consultations.

In 12 days, Portland voters will be asked to weigh in on whether to trust the school district to oversee a $790 million school construction bond. During the superintendent search, Portland board members had hoped to find strong candidates with proven experience overseeing similar projects.

"The timing is not exactly as we would prefer it," Koehler says, "but the most important thing is to make the right decision."

Questions about Dickey's fitness for the job first arose during a March vetting trip to Atlanta by three Portland Public Schools leaders. The Oregonian reported that Dickey showed the Portland team a highly skewed version of his work in Atlanta.

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