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Board Selects New Chair in Straw Poll

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Board Selects New Chair in Straw Poll
Posted on 11/16/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Board Selects New Chair in Straw PollOn Nov. 16, the Portland Board of Public Education held a caucus to select a new chair for the coming year. In a non-binding straw vote, Board members unanimously chose District 2 member Emily Figdor, the current Board chair, to be chair again for a second year in a row. A formal vote to choose a chair will take place on Monday, Dec. 6, when the Board will hold an inauguration ceremony for its new and newly reelected members.

At the caucus, at-large member Yusuf Yusuf nominated Figdor to lead the Board again. Yusuf said Figdor had been a skilled and caring leader over the past “extremely challenging year” and said the Board would continue to need her strong leadership in the year ahead. The vote to approve Figdor was unanimous, with new at-large Board member Nyalat Biliew and new student Board representatives joining in the vote.

Figdor said she was “honored and humbled” by the Board’s support. “This has been the most challenging of years and I am so proud of the work we have done as a district,” she said. The challenges of the pandemic would continue, she said, but she’s optimistic that with strong support from the community, the Board’s work will continue to be successful. “Thank you for your confidence,” Figdor said.

Figdor was first elected to the Board in 2018 and was just reelected to a second three-year term on Nov. 2. She has worked for about two decades in the public policy field. Prior to being elected, she was deeply involved in education issues as a parent, and she co-founded and directed Protect Our Neighborhood Schools and co-chaired Reiche Community School's PTO. She led the winning campaign to pass a $64 million bond in 2017 to renovate four Portland elementary schools.