Superintendent's Update

Centennial School District - November 18, 2022

Dear Centennial Colleagues, Students, Families and Community,

Believe it or not, the first trimester of the school year is nearly finished! On a regular basis, I have the opportunity to visit school buildings throughout the District. I am pleased with the engagement students are experiencing, and the intentionality our teachers are providing in their instruction.

Strategic Planning

Centennial is moving forward in many areas, as you will see highlighted in this newsletter. A big focus this year is on our Strategic Planning process, with a variety of engagement opportunities commencing this week, which you will learn more about. Our goal is to align all stakeholders on a shared vision, common goals, and unified direction for our District’s educational efforts for the next four years. Community-wide involvement is vital to our planning, therefore we are designing the process in ways that will embrace the diverse voices of our District’s community.

OSBA Presentations

Last weekend, the Oregon School Board Association hosted its 76th Annual Convention during a three-day event held at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront Hotel. The annual convention brings together Oregon School Board Members and Superintendents from around the State of Oregon, alongside strategic thinkers to share strategies for a common goal of student success. I was fortunate to join other leaders from the region, attend workshops on best practices from the field from content experts, and was humbled to present on behalf of Centennial School District at the state level on topics related to the 2020 Bond.

On Friday, November 11, 2022, I co-presented “How to Implement a Successful School Boundary Review Process” with representatives from FloAnalytics and Centennial Board Director Pam Shields. During the presentation, we shared various community engagement strategies employed in last year’s Comprehensive Boundary Review process in Centennial.

On Saturday, November 12, 2022, I co-presented “Bond Oversight Committees Provide Your Community a Voice” with R&C Management’s Scott Rose & Centennial Bond Oversight Committee Chair, Rod Boettcher. In this presentation, we spoke to the value and importance of community oversight in the bond construction process.


This month, we’re recognizing Native American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month and the contributions of our Native community. Additionally, we continue to celebrate our staff and this month we’re honoring our school psychologists, educational support professionals, and substitute educators.

Also, as you know, Veterans Day was Friday, November 11, 2022. I want to take the time to thank our veterans for their service.

As we’re approaching the holiday season, it’s a valuable time for reflection and gratitude, and a fitting time to share our gratitude for others. As your Superintendent, I am honored to serve our community and grateful for our dedicated staff, leaders, and supportive School Board members. I appreciate working with individuals – staff, families, and community – who are committed to our students’ learning.

As always, I want to wish all our students, families, and Centennial community a wonderful Thanksgiving break. As a reminder, Centennial schools and offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 24 - 25. Offices will reopen and classes will resume on Monday, November 28, 2022. If you see any unusual or suspicious activity at any of our campuses during this break, please call the police department or dial 911.


James Owens

Superintendent of Schools

You’ll find other important updates in this edition of the Superintendent’s Update including

  • New District Hires

  • November Holidays and Celebrations

  • Strategic Planning Update

  • Bond Updates

  • Long Range Facilities Planning Update

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Melissa ‘Missy’ Grindle - Executive Assistant to the Superintendent & Board of Directors

I am pleased to announce the selection of Melissa ‘Missy’ Grindle to the position of Executive Assistant to the Superintendent & Board of Directors. Missy brings a strong skill set and proven experience to this important position.

Since 2012, she has served as the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent & Board of Directors in the Molalla School District in Molalla, Oregon. Prior to that, Missy served as Office Manager at Reynolds High School and six years as Head Secretary at H.B. Lee Middle School in the Reynolds School District in Troutdale, Oregon.

Missy earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Arizona State University and has subsequently taken coursework in Human Resource Management at Portland State University.

Missy will join Centennial School District effective November 28, 2022, while she supports a smooth transition in her current district.

Please join me in welcoming Missy to her new role!

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Jayne Herrington- Parklane Assistant Principal

Centennial community, it is my pleasure to introduce Jayne Herrington as the new Parklane Assistant Principal. Jayne will be assuming this newly established position through Student Investment Account funds.

Jayne most recently served as a Chemistry Teacher at Milwaukee High School in the North Clackamas School District, serving as the lead NGSS teacher and facilitating curriculum development for Chemistry and Physics. In 2021, Jayne served as an Elementary Summer School Administrator at Oak Grove Elementary where she led the instructional implementation, data analysis, and intervention as well as all the operations of the program. Jayne has coached Track and Field at Rex Putnam High School for six years and was a member of the Equity Task Force and Equal Opportunity Schools Site Lead Team at Milwaukie High School.

Jayne obtained a Bachelor of Science in Education with a minor in Chemistry from Oregon State University, and a Master of Arts in Teaching and Administrative License, both from Concordia University. Her passion for education comes from a line of positive role models in her life, including her grandfather who was a teacher for many years.

She looks forward to continuing her work with diverse populations and believes that we all need role models that make a difference in our communities. Jayne wants to be a positive role model for our students and work with them and their families.

Her skills, experience, and leadership will be key to collaboratively lead Parklane in service to our students, staff, families, and community. Congratulations, Jayne!

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Sam Breyer, Associate Director of Human Resources

I would like to welcome Sam Breyer back to Centennial School District as Associate Director of Human Resources. We are very fortunate to enlist his extensive expertise on an interim, part-time basis as we prepare to fill the permanent full-time Associate Director of Human Resources in the spring.

Sam’s support will allow us to advance critical work in the Human Resources department while we continue to respond to the pandemic-related staffing conditions.

His wealth of first-hand district knowledge, skills, experience, and leadership will help us to continue moving forward to support our educators and leaders across our schools.

Sam started his educational career as a teacher at East Gresham Grade School where he taught for seven years before becoming a School Improvement Teacher on Special Assignment. He then served for eight years in Centennial School District starting in 2008 as the principal of Butler Creek Elementary, then as Assistant Director of Assessment, Curriculum, and Student Learning in 2010, then as both Butler Creek principal and Assistant Director in 2011 due to budget constraints. From 2012 to 2016, Sam led Centennial School District as Superintendent of Schools where he guided improvement of student outcomes by setting clear, rigorous systemic goals, developing a comprehensive assessment system, and implementing a variety of systems and supports.

From 2016 to 2021, Sam served as Superintendent of Multnomah Education Service District (MESD). In that role he led the development, coordination and delivery of services to Multnomah County’s eight school districts, and the work of more than 400 employees in service to over 100,000 students in the region.

Under his leadership, MESD partnered with community agencies and districts to improve educational experiences, access, and outcomes for students across the county.

Prior to becoming an educator, his professional experience spanned a variety of fields, including U.S. Marine, a small business manager, and as a performance auditor for the Secretary of State’s Audit Division. Sam earned his Bachelor's of Science in Economics and Masters of Arts in Teaching in Early Childhood/Elementary from Willamette University. He also earned his administrator’s certificate in Education Leadership from Lewis & Clark College.

Welcome home, Sam.

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Holidays and Celebrations

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Native American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

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Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Increase in Cases Across the State

Oregon is seeing an increase in cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). This common respiratory virus spreads through respiratory droplets, direct contact and by touching contaminated surfaces. For most children, RSV produces mild illness, however children under 2 years old are especially susceptible to the virus and are at increased risk of severe illness and hospitalization.

Many school-age children have siblings at home who may be younger and more susceptible to severe illness and hospitalization.

Together we can help reduce the spread of RSV and other respiratory illnesses, including influenza and COVID-19. There are several ways to prevent the spread of these respiratory illnesses including

  • Frequent and thorough handwashing

  • Covering coughs and sneezes

  • Keep children home when they are sick

  • Masking

  • Disinfection of high-touch surfaces

For more information about RSV please visit:

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Strategic Planning

The Centennial School District Strategic Planning process is now in full swing with a variety of stakeholders participating and preparing to take our district into further heights. This year marks the final year of our current Strategic Plan Destination 2023, and now is time to prepare for the next four years into 2027. This plan will take a total team effort and we look forward to working with all our Centennial community.

The primary aim planning teams is to align all stakeholders on a shared vision, common goals, and unified direction for our district’s educational efforts for the next four years.

Community-wide involvement is vital to the Strategic Planning process; therefore, we are designing the process in ways that will embrace the diverse voices of our district’s stakeholders.

Core Planning Team

On November 14 and 15, the Core Planning Team met to kick-off the process and to guide our planning. The Core Planning Team shepherds the process from beginning to end, maintaining focus, direction, and productivity for the strategic planning process. The meetings brought together nearly 70 participants including parents, guardians, community partners, classified and certified staff, and district administrators. This committee inspires vision and strategic action.

Instructional Focus Team

On November 15 and 16, the Instructional Focus Team began the process of identifying professional practices and instructional approaches and strategies that will enhance the effectiveness of our instructional programs from beginning to end. The Instructional Focus Team shapes the future direction of high-quality teaching and learning. Over 30 staff, representing a range of roles and responsibilities related to instruction, participated in this Strategic Planning committee.

Student Voice Team

Also on November 16, the first of three Student Voice Team meetings took place gathering over 30 students to ensure the focus and action planning are centered on the student experience. The Student Voice Team consists of middle and high school students, many of whom participated in the Student Focus Group last month.

We appreciate the time and work each one of these teams and attendees are giving the Centennial School District and our planning process. Without their involvement, support and first-hand awareness at every level of our District, we would not be able to move forward with this process. Our Board of Directors and District Leadership look forward to our upcoming meetings in the next few weeks and into the new year.

To learn more about the Centennial School District Strategic Planning process, visit The website contains additional information about the process, each of the teams, timelines, informational videos and much more. Plus, after each of our findings, we will update our planning and upload to our website.

Bond Updates and Facilities Planning Update Committee Recommendation

As the school year progresses, so does the construction of many of the Centennial 2020 Bond projects, thanks to voters' support of the bond! Centennial’s Long Range Facilities Planning work continues as we reflect on what we’ve accomplished so far and look forward to the future to ensure our buildings are sufficiently maintained and serve as safe, modernized learning environments for our students and staff.

2020 Bond Progress

We are excited to share an update on the Centennial Pool! As you’ll see in some of the photos below, the rebuilding of the pool including the shell of the pool, decking, and mechanical work is complete, the pool is filled, and the finishing touches of this project are coming together.

Additionally, the elementary gym projects are moving forward with much anticipation! At Patrick Lynch and Meadows Elementary schools, the gyms are coming along nicely - the brick has been completed, metal siding work will start soon, and interior finishes including wood floors and painting have begun. The gym projects at Parklane and Powell Butte Elementary are also making headway with framing nearing completion and the starting of wallboard installation.

Other improvements underway include District wide security improvements, roof repair and replacement with added insulation to help with thermal control at Parklane Elementary, exterior brick replacement at Pleasant Valley Elementary, and reworking the playground area at Oliver to support the middle school program.

To learn more about the Centennial 2020 Bond and process, visit the 2020 Bond Page. You can also view the Bond Project Updates page to view additional photos and details here.

Long Range Facilities Planning Update

Centennial School District continues its well defined process for long range facilities planning and an update was recently provided at the November 9 School Board Meeting.

As you may know, in 2018 the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee identified over $103 million in facility needs through an extensive review process. In 2020, voters approved a $65 million bond that is helping address many facility improvements.

The Facilities Plan Update Committee report provided at the Nov. 9 Board meeting focused on what has been accomplished with the 2020 Bond and assessment of current needs for facilities improvements to address immediate, short-term and long-term needs with immediate needs being considered as potential additional Bond projects, after all original bond promises are kept and projects completed.

Stakeholder input informed the recommendation. Beginning this past summer, the DLR Group collected feedback during listening sessions and workshops with principals, community members, educators and district leaders. The workshops asked three questions: What stands out as priorities? What other issues need to be addressed? What are you hearing from the community? Needs were identified based on their priority of immediate, short-term and long-term. For short-term needs, key themes that emerged focused on:

  • Maintaining Assets (i.e. additional roofing repairs, plumbing upgrades, additional door & window replacement);

  • Safety and Security (i.e. exterior lighting, additional intercom replacement, additional fire alarm systems replacement, security fencing and more individual student bathrooms); and

  • Educational Supports (i.e. classroom technology upgrades, electrical system capacity improvements). A wide range of long-term school improvements were identified including Career and Technical Education, early learning, welcoming spaces, and more.

From this feedback process, the Committee prepared a Facilities Recommendation, including immediate projects that could be added to Bond work, for the Centennial School Board’s consideration. The Board approved the recommendations during the Nov. 9 meeting.

Join the Centennial School District Team!

Parents, guardians, and community members: Learn about what makes Centennial School District a great place to work! We offer rewarding career opportunities such as a Teacher, Education Assistant, School Secretary, School Bus Driver, Dining Services Technician, and more!

Visit our careers page to see our position openings:!