Kate S. Barker

Cherry Park Elementary School
David Douglas School District
Portland, Oregon

For the last 11 years, Kate Barker has served as principal of Cherry Park Elementary, an urban pre-K-5 school serving a linguistically and culturally diverse student population, the majority of whom come from low-income families. Throughout her tenure, Barker has advanced the school’s equity goals by implementing bold systems to elevate teachers and create socially just opportunities for academic, social, and emotional growth. Under her leadership, the school has made strides in closing achievement gaps through effective multi-tiered systems of academic and behavioral support and strategic investments in early childhood education. Six years ago, she launched the school’s first pre-K program, using the LEAP framework to promote social-emotional learning and provide a strong life skills foundation that is consistent across all age and ability groupings. Results have included increased social and academic readiness across all subgroups, more sophisticated language skills, and improved attitudes toward differences of culture and ability. Since launching the program, the school has also seen achievement exceed state levels and a drastic increase in the number of students who are able to remain in the general education setting. Colleagues describe Barker as a fearless, solutions-oriented leader who is fiercely committed to improving conditions for all of her students. She holds an Administration and Superintendent credential from George Fox University, as well as a Master’s degree in Special Education and a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Oregon.