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Governor Kitzhaber Lays out Education Improvement Plans in Address to Springfield Teachers and Community Leaders

Press Release

Location: Springfield, OR

Governor Kitzhaber today kicked off the 2011-12 school year in Springfield by laying out plans to improve Oregon's public education system to achieve better results for students, more resources for teachers and greater return for taxpayers' investment. The Governor spoke to more than 1,500 educators and community leaders at Springfield High School.

"Oregon must do better to keep up with our changing world. We want employers to know they can locate and grow in Oregon, and find highly - skilled productive employees right here. We want Oregonians to graduate ready to contribute to our economy, and we want them to feel confident that they have a career path to reach those family - wage jobs. And we envision an Oregon where our per-capita income is back up above the national average," said Governor Kitzhaber.

As part of the overarching education initiative, the Early Learning Council will guide efforts to integrate and streamline existing state programs for at-risk youth and ensure all children are ready to learn when they enter kindergarten. The Governor today named the members of the Early Learning Council, which was created by Senate Bill 909 during the 2011 legislative session.

The nine members of the Early Learning Council are:

Richard C. "Dick" Alexander (West Linn) - Chair, Capital Pacific Bank; entrepreneur; Board member of the Children's Institute; and leader in the Ready for School campaign to ensure early childhood success.

Pam Curtis, MS (Portland) - Deputy Director, Center for Evidence-based Policy, Oregon Health & Sciences University.

Teri Thalhofer, RN (The Dalles) - Director, North Central Public Health; Co-Chair, Early Childhood Committee of the Wasco County Commission on Children and Families.

Charles McGee (Portland) - Co-Founder, Black Parent Initiative, the only child, parent, and family-centered prevention based/culturally-specific organization in Portland focused solely on supporting low/moderate income parents, children and families in Multnomah County.

Bobbie Weber, PhD (Corvallis) - Research Associate, Family Policy Program, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University.

Norm Smith (Portland) - President, Ford Family Foundation; former Member of the Oregon House of Representatives.

Paz Ramos (Gresham) - Principal, Alder Elementary School, Reynolds School District.

Janet Dougherty-Smith (Portland) - Early Childhood Education Consultant; former Director, Early Childhood Services for Clackamas County Education Service District.

Dick Withnell (Keizer) - Chair, Oregon Commission on Children and Families, Founder, Withnell Motors, Salem.

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