Portland Public Schools has named two finalists for the superintendent search, both working under superintendents in Minneapolis and Philadelphia.
The candidates are Eric Moore, Senior Advisor to the Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools, and Ryan Scallon, Assistant Superintendent for Innovation and Opportunity in the Philadelphia School District.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Moore was put on leave pending an investigation in April 2022 following report of a string of texts between himself and a Minneapolis Teachers’ Union President, Greta Callahan, which suggested that Moore wanted the superintendent job that was open at the time. The texts took place during weeks-long teacher contract negotiations, during which Moore was acting as a member of the district’s contract negotiations team.
Portland Board of Education Chair Sarah Lentz provided a statement explaining that PPS was informed of the incident during the interview process. The Minneapolis School District did its own investigation, finding no wrongdoing, so the Portland board decided to move forward with selecting him as a finalist, Lentz said.
The texts were published in a local education blog run by an independent journalist. Moore told the Star Tribune that the report was “gross and disappointing,” adding that the messages were “taken out of context.”
“Moore has been open and forthcoming to our requests for more information and we now have a more complete understanding of what transpired and why,” Lentz wrote in an email to the Phoenix.
Moore, who has a BA from Langston University and got his MA from the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, has experience providing direction in the Minneapolis school district when it comes to systemic equity, social and emotional learning and equitable budget practices. He has completed his coursework towards his PhD at the University of Minnesota as well and is expected to receive his doctorate in the near future.
Scallon has served in a variety of roles in both Boston and Philadelphia in the last 13 years after receiving his education in business at the University of Philadelphia and later a doctorate from Temple University. Scallon developed common practices across schools while maintaining their unique and key characteristics as a chief academic officer. He also established an equity steering committee to support development of school leaders.
The two finalists were selected out of 47 total candidates and are expected to be in Portland on May 17 and 18 to meet with eight different interview panels — made up of staff, community members, school leaders and students.
The student panel will be live streamed between 4:15 and 6:00 pm while the parent panel will be live streamed between 6:30 and 8:15 pm both on Wednesday, May 17 on Zoom. Recordings of those panels will be available to view after they take place until May 20.
“We encourage the community to participate in the interview process next week to get to know both Moore and Scallon and help inform who our next superintendent will be,” Chair Lentz wrote in an email.
The district’s superintendent search committee is expected to meet on May 23 to decide upon a final recommendation for the superintendent position, after which the School Board hopes to announce their final decision by May 30.