Dr. Rachael George
From fighting wildland fires with the U.S. Forest Service to putting out fires in the classroom, education was the last place that Rachael thought she’d end up. It wasn’t until a hard conversation with a base manager in Grangeville, Idaho did Rachael realize she needed to put her chainsaw down and make a bigger impact on the world. Rachael is a member of the ASCD Emerging Leaders Class of 2015 and currently serves as the principal of Sandy Grade School in the Oregon Trail School District. Over the past seven years, Sandy Grade School has moved from being one of the lowest ranked elementary schools in the state of Oregon to performing in the top 20% of elementary schools. Sandy Grade School has been recognized by the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) as a Model School for closing the achievement gap. Prior to serving as an elementary principal, she was a middle school principal of an “outstanding” and two-time “Level 5: Model School” as recognized by the State of Oregon. Rachael serves as the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators President Elect, is the NAESP State Representative for Oregon, and is an NAESP Fellow. Rachael just released her first book PrincipalED: Navigating the Leadership Learning Curve with two friends and has two other books in the works. She specializes in curriculum development, instructional improvement as well as working with at-risk students and closing the achievement gap. Connect with Rachael on Twitter @DrRachaelGeorge.
Dr. Kate Barker
When someone asks Kate Barker how many children she has, she replies, “Five hundred thirty-seven, plus two.” As well as having two children of her own, Kate is currently the principal of Cherry Park Elementary in Portland, Oregon. She has been an educator for the past thirty years, all in the David Douglas School District, which is located in an urban setting. Kate has spent her career dedicated to supporting and learning from her community. She has been a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher and a district office language arts and federal grants leader. In the past seventeen years, she has lovingly served as a principal at three different buildings. In her current building, she works with a diverse and vibrant community of preschool through fifth-grade students. Seventy-five percent of the families experience poverty, and twenty-eight different languages are spoken. Many of her students, whose basic needs are not met, are steeped in trauma. And yet, Cherry Park Elementary students consistently outperform state averages. She holds a master’s in special education and is a champion for building a culture that includes all students and families. She believes that everything starts with a genuine relationship. Connect with Kate on Twitter @Kate_S_Barker
Dr. Kourtney Ferrua
Kourtney Ferrua currently serves as the Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment in the McMinnville School District. Prior to working at the district office, she served as the principal at Wascher Elementary School for six years. In 2019 Kourtney was awarded Oregon Elementary Principal of the Year and as a National Distinguished Principal. While at Wascher Elementary, they were recognized as a Model School for rapidly improving student outcomes in 2018 by the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE). Before entering into administration, Kourtney was a kindergarten and third grade teacher as well as an instructional coach. Connect with Kourtney on Twitter @kourtneyferrua