PORTLAND – A proposal for a team of teachers, rather than a principal, to be the chief administrators at the city’s Reiche Elementary School failed to gain support Tuesday from school board members.

After a long presentation and discussion Tuesday night, board members postponed action on a request to make Reiche Portland’s first “teacher-led” school.

Board members said that any decision on a proposal that could have a negative impact on the school’s learning environment is better left to Superintendent Jim Morse.

Several board members raised questions about accountability. They wanted to know who would handle discipline and teacher and staff evaluations, and who parents would turn to in the event of a crisis such as a bomb scare.

“Who would be the face of Reiche? Who would be held accountable to implement some of the changes we are looking for?” said board member Jaimey Caron.

The proposal was made by a group of teachers and parents who said a team of teachers could fill the void created when Principal Marcia Gendron, left last year to become principal at the East End Community School. Paul Yarnevich has been serving as Reiche’s interim principal.

Morse backed the concept, noting that Reiche, despite having low-income students, many of whom are refugees, had exceeded academic expectations.

Morse said a teacher-led school would be held to the same academic standards as other schools in the district.

“This is a staff that has decided to step forward and wants to try something new,” said Morse, who said he would re-evaluate the program in one year to make sure it was working effectively.

Morse said that in a teacher-led school, the teachers hired for those leadership positions would act as principals and take on the duties of a principal.

Kate Snyder, chairwoman of the school board, said she would meet with Morse to determine whether the board should hold a workshop on the proposal or if Morse should make the decision on such a program.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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