Kelly Soter

Kelly Soter was an elementary school teacher for 11 years before taking over as principal of Jackson Elementary School six years ago. Home to an increasingly diverse student population, Jackson is a Title I school with high poverty and high student mobility; one hundred percent of students receive free or reduced-price meals. Committed to transforming Jackson into a vital community resource, Soter has leveraged effective management and knowledgeable instructional leadership to improve academic opportunity for all students. For example, with one third of students requiring ELL services, she and her team have built a protected block in the master schedule for intensive language support. By decreasing group size and increasing the accuracy of differentiation, the language block has allowed teachers to better address foundational language needs not only for English learners, but for all students. English-proficient students use the time to develop vocabulary and grammar mastery, or learn to apply their language skills in critique and debate. More effective RTI systems have also been established under her leadership to support teachers in better assessing and responding to student needs. She has also transformed parent engagement at Jackson by creating a permanent, staffed Family Neighborhood Center that serves as a link between school and community. She holds a B.A. from Oregon State University and a Masters in Teaching from the University of Portland.