Portland Public Schools Superintendent Xavier Botana plans to leave his post at the end of the 2023-24 school year after eight years with the district.

Xavier Botana, superintendent in Portland since 2016, says he will leave the job in 2024.  File photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

“I want to be transparent about my intent to not renew my contract beyond a two-year extension,” Botana told the school board Tuesday night. “I will have served this community for eight years at that point and I will be 62 years old … my son will be done with college, hopefully, and it will be time to begin a different chapter in my life.”

Botana, who was hired by the district in 2016, said after Tuesday’s board meeting that it was too soon to say what his future plans might be. But he said it always has been his intent to work in the district for eight to 10 years and he wanted to give the school board enough time to ensure a smooth transition in leadership.

“I want it to be something predictable, not, ‘He’s gone. What will we do now?'” Botana said. “I want to give the board the space to think about what that looks like.”

Botana’s comments came on the same day the board considered and voted 6-0 to approve his two-year contract extension, which runs from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2024.

Board member Adam Burk, who served as chair for Tuesday’s hybrid meeting since Chair Emily Figdor was attending remotely, read remarks on her behalf at the start of the meeting reflecting on the board’s most recent evaluation for Botana.

“We expressed our strong confidence in Superintendent Botana’s leadership of the district, concluding that he led with the highest of standards, integrity, rigor, focus, grace, courage and compassion,” Burk said.

Botana’s original contract and his second contract, approved in 2018, were each for three years. He will continue to earn an annual base salary of $148,000, which is the same salary he was hired at, and also has the ability to earn additional performance-based compensation of up to 5 percent of his annual salary based on achievement goals established by the board.

Botana came to Portland in 2016 from Michigan City, Indiana, where he served as associate superintendent of the 6,000-student Michigan City Area Schools since 2010. He previously worked in the Portland, Oregon, public schools; Chicago Public Schools; and as an administrator for the Illinois State Board of Education.

In Portland, Botana spearheaded the district’s implementation of the strategic plan known as the Portland Promise. He also led an effort to put $2.9 million in new equity investments in this year’s school budget, including funds enhancing special education and English language learner services, a new human resources position to support educators of color, and two additional pre-K classrooms.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together in the administration, board, staff and community,” Botana said. “Our work to create a more equitable and just school system is well underway, but it’s still in its infancy and it’s likely never to be done. I look forward to continuing that work for the next two years and working with the board to develop a leadership transition plan.”


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