John W. Nelsen M.S.Ed.
Executive Director

John Nelsen was born and raised in SE Portland where he attended Woodstock Elementary School (k-8).  Severely dyslexic, John struggled mightly in learning to read, write, and do mathematics.   This struggle set the stage for John's career as an educator, community leader, and proponent of the "Direct Instruction" approach to elementary teaching and learning.

John was able to overcome his learning challenges and (in time) earned Associate Degrees from Hood Community College as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees from Portland State University.

John has served as the Executive Director of RPA since October 2016. Immediately prior to his appointment to this position, John served as a consultant to the school and the Managing Director of the company that secured the campus on which the school currently is located.

Married since 1983, Mr. Nelsen and his wife Vicky raised their five children in the Rockwood community of east Multnomah County Oregon.  Today John and Vicky have five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

John's hobbies are playing guitar and “learning about everything."

John's “service” orientation started at an early age. John worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant serving the elderly and disabled while pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees. These years were lean financially but they also fostered a commitment to serving others that continues to this day.


More about John on LINKEDIN