Teachers Share Important Traits in a New Principal


Clarion photo Alex Cheriel

Who’s Next? – Portland Public Schools has started the hiring process for Cleveland’s new principal after the resigning of Ayesha Freeman- and you can provide input.

By Alex Cheriel, Reporter

Portland Public Schools has started the process for hiring a new principal at Cleveland High School, due to Principal Ayesha Freeman resigning her position. Several sessions have been planned to generate community input.


Tuesday, May 21 at 8 a.m. – Community coffee in the Faculty Lounge

Friday, May 24 at 3:30 – Student input session in the CHS library with PPS Assistant Superintendent Joe LaFountaine

Tuesday, May 28 at 3:30 – Staff meeting in the CHS library

Tuesday, May 28 at 11:30 – Meeting with BSU and JSU

Tuesday, May 28 at 4:30 – Meeting with the public in the CHS library


In addition, The Clarion solicited anonymous comments from staff members in four different departments regarding what qualities are important in the leader of our school.


We need to hire a principal with experience in a large high school who prioritizes safety. I believe administration should ensure students feel safe in class and in the hallways. If they do not feel safe in the classroom, then administration should have appropriate conversations with teachers and students and everyone should be held accountable for doing their part.

Administration also needs to hold high academic expectations for all of our students and work with teachers to make that happen.

Administration must also do all it can to address the issues that are plaguing our school, including the racial incidents. Racism is a societal problem and we can continue to strive to help fight it on our campus by coming together as a community and educating ourselves about important issues.

What I would like to see in the new Cleveland Principal is an individual who has leadership experience in a high school setting, not just someone who’s been a bookworm administrator–but someone who has the experience to manage the day-to day operations of Cleveland in a competent and straightforward manner.  Also, a person representing the opposite gender of the predominant one currently in the entire front/admin office would be a nice change of pace as well.

When reflecting on my years as a teacher, I always felt the most supported when administration understood the important role that education plays in students’ lives and actively worked to support all staff create a positive, impactful education for all students. An effective principal would actively work to keep Cleveland a safe space for all students – finding a balance between trying to restore peace, while also holding people accountable for their actions and how they impact others.

As a leader, the principal should have a clear vision for the school and be able to communicate this clearly to all those connected to the school. Our principal should be invested in the Cleveland community. Being visible and present at a variety of activities is a sign to teachers, students, parents, and other stakeholders that the administration is invested in the success of the school as a whole. Cleveland is a special place, but we also have our issues. Administration should be able to continue to foster what is great about this place, while addressing issues head on.

Relationships are foundational to the success of a high school principal. Adversity will inevitably arise, but if there a strong connection and shared vision between the new principal and students, teachers, and parents, Cleveland High School will be able to respond proactively and collectively to address issues. To build these relationships, a new principal will need to spend time talking with students in the hallways, checking in with teachers in the classroom, and inviting community members including parents to the school. By doing this, the principal will be able to gain an authentic understanding of Cleveland High School’s culture and defend the values that we hold as a community.