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Kotek names Warm Springs tribal representative to Early Literacy Educator Preparation Council

State of Oregon

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Gov. Tina Kotek announced Tuesday the full membership of the Early Literacy Educator Preparation Council, which she has tasked with developing recommendations to strengthen educator preparation programs for teaching reading and writing in Oregon schools.

“I am grateful that these issue experts have come forward to support our students and educators,” Governor Kotek said. “My executive order was structured to bring together leaders with a wide range of perspectives with the common goal of better supporting children’s ability to read and write. I look forward to working with the Council on enhancing our literacy preparation standards.”

The Council has 20 members, including teachers, principals, representatives from education preparation programs, early literacy experts, and bipartisan appointments from the Oregon House and Senate.

Ronda Fritz and Susan Gardner will serve as co-chairs. The full council roster is listed below.

  • Executive: Governor Kotek or her designee
  • Senators (appointed by Senate President Rob Wagner): Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) and Suzanne Weber (R-Tillamook)
  • Representatives (appointed by House Speaker Dan Rayfield): Ben Bowman (D-Tigard) and Boomer Wright (R-Coos Bay)
  • Public Educator Preparation Program Representatives: Ronda Fritz (Eastern Oregon University) and Susan Gardner (Oregon State University)
  • Private Educator Preparation Program Representative: Katie Danielson (University of Portland)
  • Early Literacy Experts: Julie Esparza Brown (Portland State University), Anita Archer, and Mikkaka Overstreet (Education Northwest)
  • Licensed Teacher Representatives: Shahnaz Sahnow (Literacy Specialist - Corvallis School District) and Julie Ragan (Lebanon Community Unit School District)
  • Elementary Principal Small District Representative: Heidi Brown (Crow-Applegate-Lorane School District)
  • Elementary Principal Large District Representative: Jennifer Whitten (Beaverton School District)
  • Tribal Representative: Valerie Switzler (Confederated Tribe of Warm Springs)
  • Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) Director: Anthony Rosilez
  • Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) Director: Ben Cannon
  • Oregon Department of Education (ODE) Director: Dr. Charlene Williams (interim)
  • Educator Advancement Council (EAC) Director: Sara Spencer (interim)

The Governor signed Executive Order 23-12 in May to form the Council, directing it to develop recommendations for strengthening standards that the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) uses to approve elementary educator preparation programs and license elementary educators.

The TSPC will use these recommendations, which must align with the Oregon Department of Education’s (ODE) Early Literacy Framework for kindergarten through fifth grade, to adopt new rules next year. The Council must also develop recommendations to revise elementary educator licensing requirements and develop an implementation plan and timeline to ensure that our educator preparation program faculty have what they need to be able to operationalize the new standards.

Along with the formation of the Council, Governor Kotek worked with Rep. Jason Kropf (D-Bend) during the 2023 legislative session to develop House Bill 3198, which increases funding for early literacy to improve how Oregon schools and community groups teach kids to read and write.

The full executive order, including recommendation deadlines for the council, can be found here.

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