Vicki L. Phillips, the superintendent of the Portland, Ore., school system, is stepping down to become the head of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s education division.
Ms. Phillips, 49, who has a long résumé in K-12 schooling that includes stints as a teacher, superintendent, and Pennsylvania secretary of education, will finish out the current school year with the 44,000-student Portland system and assume her new position on Aug. 1.
“This was a long and rigorous search,” Allan C. Golston, the president of the Gates Foundation’s U.S. program, said in an interview. “She knows the sector very well, pre-K through 12.”
“She has dedicated her entire career to this work,” he said. “But also, … she’s very impatient with the status quo.”
Ms. Phillips will be the director of a division at the Seattle-based Gates Foundation that has awarded about $1.7 billion this decade toward its agenda for improving high schools, far more than any other philanthropy has put forward in the K-12 arena.
“I have had the privilege of working with the Gates Foundation for many years and am honored to join this remarkable organization,” Ms. Phillips said in an April 25 statement.
Read the related story, “Gates, Broad to Push Education in Presidential Campaign.”
Learn more about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s involvement in education issues.
A version of this article appeared in the May 02, 2007 edition of Education Week as Gates Foundation Taps Superintendent as Education Head