Principal, PPS leader leave jobs after KATU report about alleged abuse by teacher

Oregon's Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) says teacher Sam Leach was disciplined over alleged physical, verbal and mental abuse of students at James John Elementary School in Portland during the 2012-2013 school year.

Jennifer Patterson, the senior director of Portland Public Schools' Franklin cluster, and Rene Canler, the principal of Lent K-8 School in Southeast Portland, have left for jobs outside the district, KATU has learned.

A district spokesperson said Patterson left for a job with Oregon's Department of Education (ODE), and Canler took a position with the North Clackamas School District.

The news follows a May 10 story by KATU which found that Sam Leach, a Lent K-8 school climate coach, had been disciplined for allegedly abusing students at James John Elementary School in 2012-2013. He subsequently received multiple raises and transfers within the district. About two weeks after the report, KATU learned that another Lent K-8 teacher had been placed on leave amid abuse allegations.

On May 22, Carolyn Myers, the mother of a Lent K-8 student, filed a $700,000 lawsuit against the district accusing it of condoning "a violent and hostile education environment" at Lent over its handling of Leach. Myers, a PPS teacher, said Leach assaulted her son at least five times during the 2016-2017 school year.

ODE said Patterson is set to start a position next week as assistant superintendent of the agency’s office of teaching, learning and assessment. Canler will be the new principal at Alder Creek Middle School in Milwaukie, according to a North Clackamas School District spokesperson.

PPS would not say why Patterson and Canler chose to leave their positions with the district.

READ MORE: Elementary teacher disciplined for alleged abuse receives multiple raises, transfers

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