Cleveland parent elected to PPS board


Clarion photo Portland Tribune photo

Mike Rosen in the Cleveland library

Four seats on the Portland Public Schools Board were open for election on May 29. Julie Esparza Brown won the seat in Zone 1, Paul Anthony for Zone 2, and Mike Rosen (father of senior Emma Rosen), has been elected for Zone 7. The Zone 3 position faced a runoff between Amy Carlsen Kohnstamm and Bobbie Regan. Kohnstamm eventually won the vote against Regan with 44 percent of the votes compared to Regan’s 41 percent. All four of the zones up for election serve four-year terms.

Brown, an education professor at Portland State University, won with 77 percent of the vote in Zone 1. Brown has been teaching for 15 years and has had 29 years of experience as a parent–a fact that she believes makes her especially qualified for this position.  Her main opponent, Andrew Davidson, is a PSU student and gathered 22 percent.

Paul Anthony is the Chief Financial Officer at Shannon Pratt Valuations, Inc. According to Paul’s campaign page, he states, “We’ve got to have a school system that works for all our families. If we are going to live up to our rhetoric on equity, we’ll have to balance the needs of many competing groups. I’ve spent my professional and civic career analyzing problems and building coalitions to support sustainable, long-term solutions. We can find that bright future for Portland’s schools.”

Votes for the Zone 3 seat were so close that a runoff took place in order to determine the representative. Kohnstamm received 45 percent of the votes while Regan received 38 percent in the original vote. The rest of the votes were spread across Gretchen Hollands and Wes Soderback. Kohnstamm eventually won the election for Zone 3 after the runoff.

Kohnstamm was part of the coalition that campaigned for increased class time in Portland Public Schools, called “All Hands Raised.” She is prioritizing securing stable principals in every school, getting all students, parents and teachers involved, and helping at-risk students succeed.  Regan previously represented Zone 3 for 12 years prior to Kohnstamm taking over. Oregon Live reported Regan’s outlook towards her defeat. She said, “I have great appreciation for the opportunity that I’ve had during the past 12 years to serve our kids. My goal was to hopefully continue in this role. I was in it to win, and voters had another plan.”

Lastly, Mike Rosen won unopposed for the Zone 7 seat. Rosen has “18 years of public school advocacy and volunteer experience,” according to his campaign site. Just a few of these include co-founder of the Portland Parents Coalition and the Sellwood Moreland Team Leader for the Stand for Children advocacy organization. Rosen also holds the Cleveland High School Legislative Chair.

All four of the new representatives for Portland Public Schools will undoubtedly make a difference for PPS students, teachers, faculty, and parents alike.