St. Agatha School in Southeast Portland has appointed a new principal: Leslie Jones. The 109-year-old school community welcomed their new leader July 1.

“I look forward to working with everybody, whether digitally or in person,” said Jones, adding that she felt honored to join such an innovative and caring culture.

A spirit of community is evident “in the hearts of everyone who has greeted me so warmly,” Jones said. “I feel blessed that God has allowed me to evangelize, educate and lead a Catholic school community. I look forward to helping the children grow in faith, learning and service.”

Jones spent the past four years as principal of Sacred Heart School in Medford. She previously taught third grade, kindergarten and pre-kindergarten in her home state of Oklahoma.

While in Medford, Jones helped start the first Action Based Learning lab in the

Pacific Northwest; the labs are based on brain research and combine movement with learning. She also undertook numerous other projects to assist the school and the community.

“I’m happy Leslie is here, and I celebrate her spirit, along with her unapologetically Catholic nature,” said Father Luan Tran, pastor of St. Agatha Parish.

Jones relocated to the area with her husband, Kurt, and her young boys. When they were living in Oklahoma, the family frequently traveled to the Portland area and fell in love with Oregon.

“We realized that Oregon was where we wanted to raise our children,” said Jones.

The longtime educator earned a master’s degree in educational administration from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma. She holds a bachelor’s in early childhood education from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

This year St. Agatha also welcomes a new office manager, Annie Anderson.