Board of Education
Email the Board:
Board members are elected by voters city-wide and represent the entire school district; however, they must reside in one of seven zones.
Mail may be sent to Board Members at the following address: 501 N. Dixon Street, Portland, Oregon, 97227
Julie Esparza Brown, EdD (vice chair)
Julie Esparza Brown is an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education at Portland State University with a specialization in working with culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional learners. After a public school career of almost two decades where she was a bilingual and special educator and later a school psychologist, she joined the Graduate School of Education faculty to direct a general education teacher preparation program aimed at diversifying the teacher workforce in Oregon and successfully secured grant funding for twelve years.
Upon moving to the Department of Special Education, where she teaches courses in assessment, special education law and working with diverse exceptional learners, she has also successfully written several grants to prepare culturally and linguistically diverse special educators. Her most recent grant, funded through the federal Office of Special Education Programs, is a Model Demonstration Project to research literacy interventions within a multi-tiered system of supports for English Learners with or at risk for disabilities in grades 3 – 5.
She has served on the National Advisory Board for the National Center of Response to Intervention and is a member of the editorial board for two journals. To broaden the impact of her work focused on creating equitable educational systems for all children, she is currently serving on the school board for the largest public school system in Oregon.
Dr. Brown is a co-author of two national briefs, A Cultural, Linguistic, and Ecological Framework for Response to Intervention with English Language Learner and RTI for English Language Learners: Appropriately Using Screening and Progress Monitoring Tools to Improve Instructional Outcomes. Other publications include articles and chapters related to the screening, instruction, and assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse students, preparing a diverse teacher workforce, and a culturally and linguistically aligned framework for literacy interventions. Her national presentations have taken her to many states and districts as they work to provide rigorous, appropriate and data-driven systems aimed at improving the academic and behavioral outcomes for all students.
In her free time she enjoys spending time with her three children and their families, her grandson and granddaughter due early next year. She also spends her limited free time playing the piano, going to concerts, plays, cooking and enjoying Oregon’s beautiful trails and parks.
Paul Anthony is a CFO and an elected Director, Portland Public Schools (2015-19 term). Paul aligns organizations’ finance structure with their mission, strategic vision, and operations to drive successful, sustainable change. As a PPS Board member, he has focused on improvements to education, institutional equity, and children’s health and welfare.
A lifelong learner, he holds an MBA with dual concentrations in finance and sustainability through Portland State University’s online learning program, has been trained in and practices interest-based bargaining, holds certifications in employee benefits management, and has pursued post-graduate studies in finance and investing with the Wharton School of Business. Paul has contributed to more than 30 standard professional reference books on organizational finance and business valuation.
Director Amy Kohnstamm is a 5th generation Oregonian and is proud to have received her K-12 education in Portland Public Schools.
Amy has been a volunteer, activist and vocal advocate for public education. Amy served 12 years on the Ainsworth and Lincoln School Foundations, and on the board of the Portland Schools Foundation / All Hands Raised, serving as board co-chair and chair of the Equity Grants committee. Amy has advocated for increased education funding at the legislature and in support of local bonds and levies, served on the Superintendent's Bond Advisory Committee, as finance chair of the successful 2012 PPS bond campaign and this year led the campaign, with former Director Koehler, for the 2017 PPS bond, the largest school bond in Oregon history.
Amy currently serves on the boards of Mercy Corps NW, and Literary Arts and its Writers in the Schools committee. She also served for six years on the board, and as chair, of Open Meadow, helping initiate its innovative new Open School in East Portland for kids identified as highest risk for dropping out, at-risk students. Previously, she worked in community relations for Mercy Corps, for Tri-Met in it's Capital Projects Division, and as a professional journalist. She and her husband Kevin have three sons, a junior at UCLA and two Lincoln high school students. Amy's hobbies include trail running, skiing, cooking and watching youth sports.
Amy holds a bachelor's degree from Macalester College.
Rita Moore (Board chair)
Rita Moore is currently Chairwoman of the PPS Board of Education. For Moore, education was the ticket out of poverty. She grew up in a working class neighborhood in Boston and was the first in her family to attend college, eventually earning a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University. A former PPS parent, Moore has been involved with the district since 2002 as a member of the PTA and Site Council at her son’s schools, the Community Budget Review Committee, and the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Enrollment and Transfer.
Moore currently works for the Oregon Department of Human Services’ Child Welfare Department as a change management analyst. She previously worked as a policy analyst in the Oregon Health Authority’s Office of Health Analytics.
Scott Bailey grew up in Northeast Portland, in the same neighborhood where he now lives. He graduated from Grant High School, and went on to Oregon State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies, with honors. He received a master’s degree in economics from Portland State University and has worked as a regional economist for the state of Washington for nearly 30 years. He also teaches economics at Clark College.
Before joining the PPS Board, Scott was a community activist, co-founding Community & Parents for Public Schools (CPPS) and Our Portland, Our Schools (OPOS), working for the passage of the 2012 PPS construction bond, and other education campaigns. In addition, he has made presentations, phone-banked, led research initiatives and organized community-based interventions to push for positive change, particularly for underserved communities. His wife Nancy was an artist in residence at a number of PPS schools before earning her teaching degree. She has been a PPS teacher for more than 13 years. Both of Scott and Nancy’s children are PPS graduates.
Julia has spent two decades as a parent and community leader fighting for school funding and for initiatives to improve our schools and better support students.
Julia grew up on Mt. Tabor in Southeast Portland and attended Glencoe Elementary and graduated from Washington-Monroe High School. As a PPS parent from 1998–2016, she participated fully in her the school communities of her three children, including service in numerous PTAs and was a two-time Site Council member, classroom volunteer and a leader of numerous local options and statewide school funding campaigns.
From 2001–05, Julia served her first stint on the Portland Public Schools Board, where she served as board chair and led the district in several areas, including stabilizing district funding, establishing the financial reserve policy, prioritizing classroom expenditures during the budget process, establishing an internal performance audit function and rebuilding community support for PPS. She joined teachers and other parents in leading a community effort in the early 2000s that restored five weeks of school that were in danger of being lost due to state budget cuts.
In 2005, Julia started the “10 Great Fields” project, which successfully installed a new synthetic turf field and premium track at every PPS high school. A former high school athlete who lettered in six sports, Julia was inducted into the Portland Interscholastic League Hall of Fame in 2015. Along with other parents in 2013, she co-founded the Portland Parents Coalition, which successfully advocated for the restoration of a full day of school for high school students across the city after part-time high school had become the norm.
Motivated by this work with other high school parents to improve Portland’s schools, in 2017 Julia returned to the PPS Board.
Julia has worked at Nike for 13 years, currently serving as a Global Senior Director for the Government & Public Affairs and is responsible for Operations, World Headquarters and Public Engagement. Her professional career also includes 20 years of public policy experience, including service as a professional staff member in the U.S. Senate and the Oregon Legislature. She and her husband Randall Edwards live in Southeast Portland in Julia’s childhood home. She is a graduate of Oregon State University and currently serves on OSU’s Board of Trustees and also the Board of Trustees of Pacific University.
Student Representative Nick Paesler
Nick Paesler is a senior at Cleveland High School who has attended classes in Portland Public Schools since third grade.
Nick has been heavily involved in leadership and student council at Cleveland for the past three years. As Class of 2019 president, he built his leadership skills through planning events and major fundraisers. During his sophomore year, he was introduced to the PPS Student Council and has been at the district ever since. Nick was one of the original design team members of Oregon Student Voice, a non-profit organization that works with schools across the state to improve the quality of education. He believes being involved at the school and district level is the best way to meet as many new students as possible and work toward a better school experience for all PPS students. In his sporadic free time, Nick enjoys fixing and driving his 46-year-old Land Rover and driving his friends around Portland and Seaside.