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New APs for Lyseth, OAES

Two dedicated Portland Public Schools educators are stepping into assistant principal roles. Talya Edlund, is the new assistant principal at Lyseth Elementary School. Edlund, the 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year, has been the math coach at Lyseth for the past year. Emily Parr, a special education teacher/liaison at Ocean Avenue Elementary School for the past eight years, is the new assistant principal there. The appointments were ratified at the Aug. 16 Portland Board of Public Education meeting.

“Both these new administrators are exemplary educators who have already forged connections to the schools they will help lead, which will provide continuity and enhance their ability to work with students, staff and families,” said Superintendent Xavier Botana. “They are excited to take on their new roles and we’re delighted to have them join our administrative team. Their knowledge, skills, experience and dedication will ensure that Lyseth and Ocean Avenue students have an optimal learning experience.”

Edlund is filling a position at Lyseth vacated by former Assistant Principal Sarah Rubin, who is now principal of Cape Elizabeth Middle School. At Ocean, former Assistant Principal Dawn Girsch has transitioned to a school counselor post at East End Community School, leaving her position open.

The district is still in the process of hiring a principal for Rowe Elementary School, an assistant principal for the Breathe Behavioral Health Continuum program, and a director of Food Service.

More information on the new assistant principals is below:

Talya Edlund, Assistant Principal, Lyseth Elementary School: Talya Edlund has been an educator for more than 22 years. Talya grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan.  She began her teaching career with the New York City Teaching Fellows in Brooklyn, New York, and completed a master’s degree in education at Brooklyn College.

After moving to Maine, Talya taught second and third grades at Pond Cove School in Cape Elizabeth and then fifth grade at Talbot Community School in Portland. Drawn to instructional leadership, Talya transitioned to a role as math coach – a position she held at Lyseth this past school year. In 2016, Talya was named Maine’s Teacher of the Year, during which time she traveled to Washington, Texas and to Space Camp – building a national network of teacher leaders along the way.  She has served on Educate Maine’s Board of Directors and is a trustee with the Portland Symphony Orchestra where she co-chairs the Diversity and Equity Committee.

Talya speaks Spanish and Ukrainian and lives in Cape Elizabeth with her husband – an English professor at SMCC – two children, and a giant sheepdog. She is an enthusiastic runner, reader, and a huge fan of public schools!  Talya is thrilled to continue working with the amazing Lyseth community as the assistant principal.

Emily Parr, Assistant Principal, Ocean Avenue Elementary School: Emily has worked in education for over twenty years at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She is passionate about forming deep meaningful relationships with students and families, and she is excited to continue to contribute to the rich, diverse Portland community in her new role as assistant principal.

Emily has been with the Portland Public Schools since 2014 as a special education teacher / special education liaison at Ocean Avenue Elementary School. Prior to that, Emily taught multiple subjects in a variety of settings, ranging from a private therapeutic day treatment program in South Portland to a large urban high school in the United Kingdom. She holds a B.A. in history and politics and a postgraduate certificate of education from the United Kingdom’s University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and she is currently working toward a master’s in educational leadership from the University of Southern Maine. Outside of education, Emily has also managed a legal aide unit for a major nonprofit in Manchester, England.

Emily lives in Portland with her husband and three sons. Her two younger children are current PPS students and her eldest son is a recent Casco Bay High School graduate. She loves to work in her garden, run, and to practice yoga.

The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with approximately 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 50 languages. 51 percent of the district’s students are white and 49 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.