Marisa Ayala - Principal
Marisa’s experiences both within school systems and outside of them have shaped who she is as an educator and leader. Marisa, who is fluent in Spanish and also speaks French, had leadership and bilingual teaching experience with the Boston and Chicago public schools before joining the Portland Public Schools in July 2022 as principal of Lincoln.
Marisa said her background and experience have shaped her as an educator.
“I was born and raised in Chicago and have attended, taught, and led at Chicago Public Schools, which I am fiercely proud of. I come from a family of immigrants, from a collection of underserved neighborhoods, and multiple languages. My experiences both within the school system and outside of it are what has shaped who I am as an educator and who I am as a leader,” Marisa said. “First and foremost, is my belief in equity and anti-racist practices. I believe that all children can learn as long as we are providing the appropriate and necessary support while shaping an environment that is healing, revitalizing, and that is the catalyst for their growth. I also highly believe in educators and am committed to fostering a space where we all feel free to own our learning and take risks in order to provide the most holistic education for our students and the most supportive environment for our families and communities.”
Blake Kastle - Assistant Principal
Blake is a passionate educator devoted to creating equitable schools for all students by partnering with parents, students, teachers, and policy makers. She joined the Portland Public Schools in 2019 as assistant principal/lead teacher of the district's Breathe Behavioral Health Continuum, which serves students with serious behavioral and emotional needs. She became assistant principal of Lincoln in the summer of 2022.
Before coming to Maine, Blake held a variety of educational and leadership positions in Portland, Oregon; Providence, Rhode Island; and New York City. Her previous experience includes working as a special education teacher and behavioral specialist, data analyst and professional/community learning manager, education consultant, and as director of a progressive leadership development program.
Blake enjoys working in diverse and collaborative teams and using data to drive for equity. She is skilled at leading teams in collectively developing plans to address student instructional and social emotional needs. As assistant principal at Lincoln Middle School, Blake is focusing on learning from the deep knowledge of the Lincoln community, and bringing folks together in the interest of helping Lincoln grow and progress.