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Julia Brim-Edwards
[1979]

School: Washington

Sports Played: Cross Country, Volleyball, Soccer, Basketball, Softball, Track and Field

High School Honors: First six-sport athlete in PIL Hall of Fame, 12 letters. 4-letters in basketball, 2-letters each in track, soccer and softball, and one each in volleyball and cross country. Her soccer and softball years included 1st team All-PIL rankings in both sports, junior and senior. Team MVP as junior in soccer; tied for leading scorer, senior. Team assist leader in basketball.

Post High School Career: Oregon State University, 1984. Former co-chair, Portland School Board. Co-founder, Nike School Innovation Fund. Oregon Education Investment Board. Senior Director, Global Strategy & Operations; Government & Public Affairs at Nike, Inc. Co-founded efforts to revamp track & turf and basketball courts at PPS.

Commentary:

My first nine years in Portland schools were at Glencoe Elementary; it was a K-8 with an inspiring and demanding PE teacher, Mr. Johnson, who was a lifelong inspiration to me and many other students. There weren't any formal sports teams at the schools although through community groups, I had an opportunity to run track, play basketball and softball. We also had legendary neighborhood pick up football, softball, and basketball games.

As for high school, it was all about timing. I was fortunate to enter high school in the wake of Title IX and had a full range of opportunities at Washington High School. I loved being on a team, the camaraderie, the discipline, laughter, punishing workouts, the competition... pretty much everything. Our teams at Washington brought together really diverse groups of students, in terms of race, ethnicity and income. My teammates taught me a lot about life, overcoming adversity, and getting along with others and how individuals can be "better together."

I earned 12 Varsity letters in six sports and was first team all city in softball and soccer. My parents were super supportive; and my inspiration came from Mr. Johnson, my grandfather who was a Washington state champion basketball coach, and trailblazers like Olympic marathoner Joan Benoit. My siblings and teammates helped sharpen my competitive spirit and skills. I also had an opportunity to play on competitive club soccer teams and at Oregon State University. I was and remain grateful that Title IX opened a huge door for me and many other female student athletes.

Looking back I would have loved to have had more organized opportunities in my middle grades leading up to high school. Also, the facilities at Washington and some of the other schools whose communities had fewer resources were horrible. As parent and community member, those two challenges — middle school sports and better facilities — have inspired me to work with others to assist PPS in bringing sports opportunities to all middle schoolers in Portland and for the past 10 years, I have led the 10 Great Fields effort to install a high quality track and field at every high school in Portland. The last one will be completed at Franklin this winter!

In my professional life — both in the political realm and at Nike — I have carried forward many of the things that were central to my experience as a student athlete: team, perseverance, discipline, grit, hard work, fun, passion for the game and teammates, competitiveness, and gracious winning and losing (I try not to do that too often).

With three kids who have all played competitive and recreational sports I have tried to inspire them to find the sport they love... whatever it may be... and to take advantage of the great lessons a sporting life can offer.

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