PORTLAND — Aaron Townsend will be the new assistant superintendent for school management at Portland Public Schools.

In announcing the appointment, Superintendent Xavier Botana said Townsend has “the right combination of knowledge, skills and experience to continue to move our district forward.”

Townsend will start in his new post July 1. He replaces Jeanne Crocker, who will retire from the School Department effective June 30.

In a press release, Townsend was described as “an innovative educator with nearly 20 years of experience as a teacher, school leader and system leader in Maine and California.” He’s currently a senior associate with the Great Schools Partnership, based in Portland.

“I am very excited to have Aaron join our team,” Botana said in the release. “I am confident that he will be an effective and valuable member of our team.”

What he prizes most about Townsend, Botana added, is that he has experience in helping schools “redesign programs and transform outcomes, particularly for underserved students and communities.”

Townsend said he is looking forward to joining the team at Portland Public Schools because the district is so “wonderfully diverse” and consists of “an amazing community of students, families, teachers.”

Townsend said a priority will be “supporting each of the school leaders across the city to ensure that each school enables the healthy development and academic achievement of every learner.”

Crocker has served as both an assistant superintendent and interim superintendent for the Portland schools during her five-year tenure with the district. Botana praised Crocker for her leadership, saying her skills and expertise were especially valuable.

Townsend started his educational career in 1996 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan, where he worked as an English teacher and outreach program director. In 1999 he began working as a social studies teacher at Auburn Middle School and then became a service learning coordinator for the Auburn School Department.

Townsend started working for the Oakland Unified School District in California in 2002 and later became the founding principal of the district’s Coliseum College Prep Academy, leading that school’s transformation from a low-performing middle school into one of the top secondary schools in the city.

In 2016 Townsend became a senior consultant for the High School Redesign Initiative, a program of California-based Pivot Learning. Two years later he returned to Maine and joined the Great Schools Partnership, a nonprofit dedicated to redesigning public education in order to improve learning for all students.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 780-9097 or [email protected]. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

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