The Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) is chaired by Governor Kate Brown and was created in 2011 to oversee an effort to build a unified system for investing in and delivering public education from birth to college & career. We envision a system that links all segments of the educational experience together to ensure each student is poised for a promising future.
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As I write my final message as your Chief Education Officer, I want to share a few reflections and leave you with what gives me hope about the future of education in Oregon.
Serving as Oregon's Chief Education Officer has been one of the greatest honors of my career. I am proud of the foundation we have laid towards a more equitable and seamless system of education for our students.
When I came out of retirement in 2013 to become the Acting Chief Education Officer, I made a promise to my family that it would only be temporary. Now, two years later, it is time for me to focus my energy on them. I will miss this work, and the opportunity it holds to so profoundly impact the next generation of thinkers, doers, and creators. Yet I know that we have set the stage for more meaningful transformation and impact in the years to come.
If there was ever a good time to transition it is now. Governor Brown and I worked with legislative leaders to enact powerful investments in our students and education. The Governor’s choice of Lindsey Capps, my former Chief of Staff, to serve as Acting Chief Education Officer demonstrates the strong commitment to building upon what we have started together, bringing continuity to the task of implementing these investments and continuing to coordinate a cradle to career system that opens the doors of opportunity for each of Oregon’s students.
I want to express my deepest appreciation to the many educational entities, organizations, and leaders throughout the state whose perspectives have helped shape our shared understanding as a state of the unique opportunities and assets within our communities. Together, I believe that we have demonstrated how powerful policies can be when we engage with our communities to co-construct them.
Likewise, through aligning agencies and education partners around pivotal student outcomes with the Equity Lens as our guide, we have begun to closely examine our systems and identify entrenched barriers disproportionately affecting our students of color and those navigating poverty. I am proud of the work we did collectively to prioritize policies and investments to combat many of these barriers. While there will be much more work ahead, we have made important strides to build the foundation for a system of education that truly puts students at the center of decision-making.
I have had the privilege to work closely with the directors of each of our education agencies and I can tell you that they reflect some of the best leadership our state has to offer. Together, they have set the stage for unprecedented coordination between agencies to ensure that the pathways for our students from birth through career are smooth, affordable, and accessible. I expect that increasingly over the next several months and years the impact of these efforts will be reflected in the kinds of opportunities our students have across the education continuum.
During my time in this role, I would often close a speech by asking attendees to hold on to the dream. I would ask that they hold on to the dream that our systems of education can, and will truly pave a path to ensure each of our students thrive. Today, I am asking each of you to do the same, to continue to seek out opportunities to harness the contributions, capacity and potential of our students, educators, and communities, and to commit to asking the difficult questions about the students our systems are leaving behind. I can’t think of a more noble or important calling than to hold onto that dream; the next generation and the future vitality of our state are counting on you.
Thank you for all that you do!
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