Parkrose High’s ASPIRE leader ‘re-retires’

Career-after-career, Teena Ainslie has helped young people in outer East Portland become more successful adults. You’ll be amazed to learn about her NEXT career‚

Although she’s departing as the program director for Parkrose High School ASPIRE program, Teena Ainslie says she’s excited about her next project.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Over the years, we’ve told you how the ASPIRE program, lead by Teena Ainslie, helped Parkrose High School kids make important higher education or workforce training decisions.

“This is my third retirement from the same line of work,” Ainslie told us at her “Re-retirement Party” held in the school’s library. “It’s been wonderful helping young people find their way, in my previous career with David Douglas High School, and then in Parkrose.”

Ainslie served as an AmeriCorps Member stationed at Parkrose High for two years before joining the College & Career Center as a part-time assistant for an additional two years.

“The grant funding for her position has evaporated,” reported Meg Kilmer, her supervisor, “and it will be challenging to continue the program without Teena’s leadership.”

ASPIRE, Kilmer added, is a statewide college-prep mentoring program. “Teena recruited, trained, and supported dozens of ASPIRE advisors, as they coached many college-bound youth of Parkrose High.”
Helped kids find careers

Seeing the kids develop was the best part of her current assignment, Ainslie said. “Working with their volunteer adult mentors, our students were able to get a realization of their career possibilities, and start developing a career path for themselves. They learned what they had to offer; and which skills they would need to develop, to achieve their goals.”

Aircraft carrier school
“It’s been wonderful,” Ainslie continued. I’ll miss all of the wonderful volunteers, parents, staff members and students in Parkrose.”

But when we asked if she was going to “take it easy”, Ainslie shook her head, and with a twinkle in her eye, she said, “I’m working on a project with the USS Ranger aircraft carrier. Part of this is developing a vocational school connected with the project here in Portland. This is going to be my next career. I’m pouring all of my 40-years-worth of experience into this project. It’s going to be fun.”

Ainslie said she’s working with a group that aims to park the USS Ranger at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 2.

For more information about the aircraft carrier, Ainslie suggested a visit to www.ussranger.org.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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