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DHS Principal Ira Waltz To Retire; District Seeking Successor

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DHS Principal Ira Waltz To Retire; District Seeking Successor
Posted on 06/13/2017
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The Portland Public Schools is launching a search for a new principal for Deering High School to succeed longtime Principal Ira Waltz, who plans to retire at the end of the school year. The district is seeking a new school leader to continue the success Deering has experienced under Waltz’s leadership.

“I am sad to see Ira go, but I respect his decision,” said Superintendent Xavier Botana. “As with everything that Ira has done, his decision to retire has been deliberate, respectful, inclusive and thoughtful. Clearly, his interest has been on making sure that Deering continues its positive trajectory.”

Waltz has served the Portland Public Schools well in a variety of roles over the past three decades. He has been the principal of Deering High School since 2010. He also served as Acting Superintendent during the summer of 2012. 

Between 1988 and 1998, Waltz worked as a special education teacher at Portland High School and was principal of the Peaks Island and Reiche elementary schools and assistant principal at Deering. He then held several administrative positions, including the role of assistant superintendent, in both the Scarborough and the Wells-Ogunquit schools, before returning to Portland.

Over the past seven years, Waltz has led Deering's efforts to become an International Studies Schools Network (ISSN) school as part of the district’s Nellie Mae Education Foundation-funded high school transformation efforts. 

Deering is one of New England's most diverse high schools. Under Waltz’s leadership, that diversity has become central to the school's identity. He has increased the number of highly rigorous course offerings, while at the same time making them accessible to a larger segment of the school's population. He has worked with his leadership team to increase the relevance of coursework by incorporating global competencies into the Deering High School experience.

A recent report by the Education Development Corporation, commissioned by Nellie Mae, shows that students at Deering are affirmed by and are strongly supportive of the school's direction. In the study’s review of multiple dimensions critical to high school success, Deering ranks in the top 3 out of a group of 15 New England high schools. This is a tribute to Waltz’s work leading Deering through its transformational process.

“During graduation ceremonies this past Wednesday, it was clear that Ira would leave an indelible mark at Deering,” Botana said. “His calm, tolerant and welcoming persona is central to Deering's character. Many of his graduates showed their appreciation for him during the ceremony and in their public and private remarks.”

As part of Waltz’s commitment to ensuring a smooth transition at Deering, he will continue to work with Botana, Assistant Superintendent Jeanne Crocker, and the future leadership at Deering to plan for the 2017-2018 school year. The district will post the position this week and begin the recruitment of a successor immediately. Assistant Superintendent Crocker will lead the search effort.