Meet the New Elementary Principals

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The David Douglas School District is excited to announce the selection of new principals to lead three of our elementary schools beginning with the 2021-22 school year.

Beginning July 1, Shannon Deems will lead Gilbert Heights Elementary, Matt Soule will lead Cherry Park Elementary, and Holly Wilkes will lead Lincoln Park Elementary. They replace Barb Kienle (GH), Kate Barker (CP) and Ceci De Valdenebro (LP).

Gilbert Heights Elementary

Shannon Deems, pictured above left, is currently an Education Resource Teacher in the Gresham-Barlow School District, where she also served last school year as an Administrative Intern.

Shannon began as a special education teacher, and has leadership experience in equity work, restorative justice and mentoring, among other areas. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and Special Education, a Master’s degree in Special Education and her administrative license, all from the University of Oregon.

“I am incredibly honored to join the Gilbert Heights team,” she said. “The shared vision and priorities of staff, district leadership, our families and the school board are evident and focused on the well-being of our students. I am ready to dive into the exciting work supporting our educational community. Go Mustangs!”

David Douglas Director of Education, Andy Long, said, “It was clear throughout the interview process that Shannon Deems will bring a strong commitment to equity with a focus on building and maintaining strong relationships at Gilbert Heights. We are confident that Shannon’s natural positive outlook and ability to solve problems will be an asset to the David Douglas School District.”

Cherry Park Elementary

Matt Soule, pictured above center, will be a familiar face to Cherry Park, where he is currently the Student Achievement Specialist. He served as the school’s Student Behavior Specialist for five years prior to his current role.

In addition to eight years of experience as an elementary classroom teacher, Matt has also served as a teacher, School Improvement Coordinator or counselor at Mill Park, North Powellhurst, Lincoln Park and Cherry Park.

“Over many years, Matt has formed and maintained caring relationships with students, families and staff at Cherry Park,” said Andy Long. “His focus on support for students along with a natural positive energy make him a great fit for the next principal at Cherry Park Elementary.”

He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University, a Master’s in Teaching from Willamette University, and he received his Administrative Licensure from George Fox University.

“I am so incredibly honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to work with our community as the principal of Cherry Park,” Matt said. “I love and value our Cherry Park and Douglas family so much. I look forward to continuing to build upon our positive relationships in order to serve our students to the best of our abilities.”

Lincoln Park Elementary

Holly Wilkes, pictured above right, has eight years of experience as an elementary school administrator and is currently serving as the Assistant Principal at Alder Elementary in the Reynolds School District. She has held that position since 2014, with the exception of last school year when she served as the interim Principal at Reynold’s Margaret Scott Elementary. She has also served as a middle school Dean of Students.

She has leadership experience in equity work and family and community outreach, including specific outreach to Spanish-speaking families. Lincoln Park has a Spanish dual-language program.

“Not only is Holly Wilkes conversant in Spanish, she demonstrated a strong commitment to student learning and equity throughout the interview process,” said Andy Long. “Holly is a leader who will bring high expectations to Lincoln Park, with special experience of working previously in a school with a dual immersion program.”

Holly majored in Arts and Letters and minored in Spanish at Portland State University, where she also earned her Master’s degree in Education and her initial administrator license.

“It’s truly an honor to be selected as Principal,” she said. “I am thrilled at the opportunity to join the community and to get to know Lincoln Park’s students, staff and families. I’m looking forward to the great work we will do together!”