The Portland school board is honoring a departing educational leader for his work to help Jefferson High School. But it's not someone directly affiliated with Jefferson, or Portland Public Schools.

The campus president of Portland Community College's Cascade campus, Algie Gatewood, helped craft the current "middle college" program at Jefferson.

The program allows students to accumulate college credits - free of charge - while they're in high school. Jefferson principal Margaret Calvert says Gatewood wanted to connect high schools, community colleges and universities before it was a state-level priority.

Calvert said, "He was a visionary in that way -- and was persistently pushing this vision. And now you're seeing it's being supported on a number of fronts. So I believe that he's left a really solid structure and framework that we have enough players both in place at Portland Public Schools and at PCC, to keep the partnership robust and serving our students."

Calvert says she'll miss Gatewood's energy and enthusiasm on back-to-school nights. But she hopes his lofty goals - to lift entire communities - will last after he departs.

Algie Gatewood is leaving for a college leadership position in North Carolina.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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