Tamala Newsome

Name: Tamala Woods Newsome

Birthplace: Portland, Oregon

Home: Portland, Oregon

Parents: Father, Herman, Portland Department of Parks and Recreation. Mother, Jaunita, social worker and charter member of the Sharon Church in Portland.

“Sharon was a very great church to grow up in because there were a lot of activities for young people. Even though many of us went to public school, our social activities centered at church.”

High School: Woodrow Wilson High School, Portland. Graduated in 1976.

College: Oakwood College, Huntsville, Alabama. Graduated in 1982 with a degree in elementary education.

Graduate School: Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi. Graduated with a master's degree in administration and supervision.

Occupation: Tamala is an inner-city elementary school principal with Portland Public Schools, assigned to Rosa Parks Elementary School, Portland’s newest school with 54 staff members and 475 students.

She is responsible for student achievement as the primary goal of the school’s strategic or school improvement plan. During the last two years she was involved in building the new school, from planning to the completed building.

She worries about her students for various reasons, including their health and welfare. “While we don’t have Bible classes, there is nothing that can keep me from praying for my students and my families.”

Awards: In 2004, Tamala won the Milken Educator Award, which is given yearly by the Milken Family Foundation and recognizes 100 U.S. educators for their contributions

Success: She is surrounded by a group of teachers who have the same commitment to excellence as she does and as a result her school is one of the district’s highest performing schools

Spouse: Karl Newsome.

Married: August 16, 1987.

Children: Karrington, 19, and Kelson, 16.

Church Membership and Offices: Tamala and Karl are members of the University Park Church. Tamala is the assistant treasurer, finance committee chairperson and church pianist.

"I choose to go to church in north Portland because of the relationships we build in the community. People not only see my car at school but also in the church parking lot and they know where I go to church.”

Philosophy: “My parents insisted on nothing less than my best. I ask the Lord every morning for wisdom and discernment to make a difference in the lives of my students. Whatever success I have had, it is because the Lord has allowed me that success. I believe that it is because I trust Him, and He has blessed that effort.”

February 01, 2007 / Feature