Newberg residents weigh in on superintendent search

Education

Dr. Joe Morelock was fired without cause in October

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In written public comment, residents of Newberg said they were shocked by the firing without cause of Dr. Joe Morelock as superintendent and also concerned about the condensed search process for his successor.

Some commenters also said they were interested in moving out of the district.

Newberg School Board Chair Dave Brown defended removing Morelock.

“We’ve lost hundreds of students in our school district. That’s millions of dollars,” Brown said. “So if you think about that and talk about fiscal responsibility, we’re losing great students, great families, not because of a vote on banners and flags. They’re leaving because they don’t like all the politics in their schools. We were never intended to have that in our schools and it was allowed in.”

Brown was among the 4 board members who pushed the ban on Pride and BLM banners and fired Morelock. Brown became chairman and Brian Shannon was name the board’s second-in-command in July.

At that same meeting, Shannon ignored procedure to bring up for discussion removal of Black Lives Matter signage and LGBTQ Pride flags from school buildings, an overhaul of the language in an anti-racism resolution passed by the board in 2020 which he opposed and overturning the All Students Belong policy passed in December, which he also opposed.

Now Shannon appears to be facing an ultimatum: resign by Friday or hope that voters will side with him in a January recall election.

Yamhill County Clerk Brian Van Bergen told The Oregonian/OregonLive that as of Monday, a campaign effort to recall Newberg school board vice chair Brian Shannon far exceeded the number of valid signatures required to put the recall on the ballot.

Shannon told The Oregonian/OregonLive he will not resign, which means he’ll be required to submit a 200-word explanation for why he should not be recalled to the clerk’s office.

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