Announcing James John’s New Principal Samantha Ragaisis

Announcing James John’s
New Principal
Samantha Ragaisis
October 2014
Dear James John Community,
I am pleased to share some important news about your principal. As many of you know,
Principal Beth Shelby went out on a medical leave starting Oct. 10. Her leave has created an
opportunity to bring an excellent new principal to James John, a move that Principal Shelby
agrees is a win for the school.
Samantha Ragaisis, a seasoned principal from Keizer who is known for her ability to raise
achievement and meet the needs of historically underserved students, will be James John’s new
principal starting Tuesday, Oct. 14. On Monday, Oct. 13, a semi-retired veteran PPS principal,
John Blanck, will oversee James John.
Ms. Ragaisis has been serving as principal at Glencoe Elementary in Southeast Portland since
August. Beth Shelby will become principal at Glencoe following her medical leave until her
planned retirement in June.
Ms. Ragaisis brings 28 years of experience to James John. She comes from Weddle Elementary
School in Keizer, where all of the students qualified for free- or reduced price meals and many
spoke Spanish as their first language. She led Weddle for 10 years, during which the school
made dramatic gains in achievement. Ms. Ragaisis also served as assistant principal at South
Salem High School, and house support specialist at Portland Public Schools’ Lane Middle
School. Earlier, she was a physical education teacher and coach in Portland and Molalla.
Ms. Ragaisis knows from experience that every student can achieve academic success when high
expectations are set for both students and staff. She recognizes the importance of teamwork,
collaborative teaching and learning, and empowering others to make the best decisions on
behalf of their students.
James John family members are welcome to join Principal Ragaisis on Tuesday, Oct. 13 for
coffee at 8 am at the school. On Monday, Oct. 20, 6 pm to 7 pm, she invites James John
families to a community meeting at the school where she’ll talk about her leadership style and
aspirations and answer questions.
Ms. Ragaisis is excited to meet you. She is thrilled to come to James John and bring to the
students the commitment to success that she brought to Weddle Elementary in Keizer.
Please join me in welcoming Samantha Ragaisis to James John and in thanking Beth Shelby for
her outstanding service.
Carole Smith
Portland Public Schools is an equal opportunity educator and employer. PPS Language Line
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October, 2014