Cleveland High School Welcomes Jo Ann Wadkins as Newest Principal

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Cleveland’s newest Principal, Jo Ann Wadkins, at Lincoln High School where she taught for fifteen years – credit PPS Admin Staff Bio

By Lena Tinker, Editorial Editor

Cleveland High School announced Jo Ann Wadkins as their new Principal starting in the 2020-21 school year earlier today, June 25th. After Leo Lawyer resigned in early February as Principal of Cleveland, the school has hosted Paul Cook as an Interim Principal during the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. 

Before coming to Cleveland, she spent fifteen years at Lincoln High School teaching astronomy, Theory of Knowledge, and IB physics, passing five years as IB Coordinator and the past two as Vice Principal. According to her PPS biography, Wadkins was a ten year teacher in the Sweetwater Union High School District in Chula, California before she moved to Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon. 

Wadkins earned a Bachelor of Arts in Physics at Trinity University, during which time she interned at NASA and the McDonald Observatory. She later earned a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington.

After receiving her physics degree, Wadkins served her country as the Medical Division Officer and the Radiation Health Officer on the Orion (AS-18), a submarine deployed to LaMadelena, Sardinia, Italy. After leaving the military, Wadkins returned to her passion for education and earned her teachers license in San Diego, California. 

In a letter sent to the Cleveland community earlier this day, Chief of Schools Shawn Bird described Wadkins as a, “Strong instructional leader and systems thinker who is dedicated to using data to drive improvement.” 

Cleveland wishes Principal Wadkins a warm welcome as the newest member of the school community, and is looking forward to spending the next year getting to work with her.