Beloved PPS Educator Paul Coakley Passes Away7/23/2021
All of us at Portland Public Schools are mourning the loss of Paul Edward Coakley Sr., a beloved educator who passed away on July 18, 2021. He was 67.
Mr. Coakley was inspired to become an educator as a Black man who grew up in the era of school integration in the South. He went on to mentor and inspire many others, including a number of educators and administrators currently serving in PPS. Mr. Coakley’s wife, Carlus, is a longtime PPS educator. Their son, Dr. Paul Coakley Jr., followed his parents into education, serving as a teacher in PPS before moving into school administration; he is now Superintendent at Multnomah Education Service District.
Mr. Coakley’s PPS career began in 1980, when he accepted a teaching position at Harriet Tubman Middle School, then went on to serve as an assistant principal and principal at the school. He later served as principal at Roosevelt High School and at Gresham High School.
Throughout his career, he was known for his infectious joy, his evident love of people, and his clear passion for supporting students and staff. He consistently encouraged those around him to be the best version of themselves. He was often heard encouraging students to be “on time, on task and on a mission.”'
Although he retired in 2002, Mr. Coakley continued to serve students, filling in as a substitute teacher, administrator and principal mentor in PPS and the greater Portland area, including in 2019, when he stepped in as interim principal at Laurelhurst School.
A memorial service for Mr. Coakley will be held on Saturday at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Portland. He will be dearly missed.