After working together as co-principals of Deering High School for the past seven months, Alyson Dame and Abdullahi Ahmed will continue to serve in that capacity on a permanent basis.

The Portland Board of Public Education voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the appointment of Dame and Ahmed at the recommendation of Superintendent Xavier Botana following a national search. A selection process that included 21 candidates from six states and four rounds of screening yielded six finalists.

Alyson Dame Photo courtesy Portland Public Schools

“We emerged confident that Ms. Dame and Dr. Ahmed are the right leaders to build off the many successes of this year,” Botana said in a prepared statement.

Abdullahi Ahmed Photo courtesy Portland Public Schools

Jim Moses, currently serving as interim assistant principal, will remain in that post next year, Botana said.

Dame grew up in Maine, earned a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College in religion and environmental studies. She later earned a master’s degree at Harvard Divinity School, taught English for seven years at a high school in New York City, and joined the Portland school system in 2018 as a Deering assistant principal.

Ahmed grew up in Somalia, holds a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from Pakistan, earned a master’s of science degree from the University of Southern Maine and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Maine. He taught physical science and Arabic at Deering High, physics and chemistry at Portland High, and science at Lyman Moore before becoming an assistant principal at Deering in 2015.


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