A longtime Vancouver-based education official has been tapped as the first director of Oregon’s Early Learning System.
Jada Rupley will lead the effort to help children enter kindergarten ready to succeed, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said in a news release issued by his office Wednesday.
Rupley recently retired as an associate superintendent at Educational Service District 112, based in Vancouver.
Oregon’s Early Learning System was created as part of sweeping changes to early education passed by the state’s Legislature in 2011.
Rupley was part of a similar effort in Washington. The Camas resident was appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire as co-chair of Washington’s Early Learning Advisory Council from 2007-2010.
Rupley said she got a sense of Kitzhaber’s passion for early learning in a conversation with the Oregon governor. She said he understands that “it’s where we have to get it right.”
“That’s one of the exciting things, working with a governor — as well as with the one in Washington — who knows how important that investment is,” Rupley said Wednesday.
“We know that devoting resources to early learning programs is the most cost-effective and high-yield investment we can make as a state,” Kitzhaber said in the news release.
“Children who arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed are more likely to read at grade level in third grade, graduate high school on time, and move on successfully in life,” Kitzhaber said. “With Jada, we have a leader to move this strategy forward.”
During her 33 years at ESD 112, Rupley led the development of the Southwest Washington Child Care Consortium. She administered programs that served a wide range of age groups. They included early learning and child care programs, alternative school programs for at-risk students, truancy projects in Clark and Cowlitz counties, youth work force and training programs for 16-to-24-year-olds, and a four-state AmeriCorps service program.
As a Southwest Washington education official, she has worked with some of her new colleagues in Oregon, Rupley said.
Rupley has another current role in educational leadership. Gregoire appointed Rupley to the Clark College board of trustees in 2010.
Rupley will remain a Camas resident, she said, and will continue to serve on the Clark College board.
She will begin her new position Tuesday.
Rupley earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology and K-12 education from Central Washington University and a master’s degree in school administration from Seattle Pacific University.