Year in Review: Top school news
Superintendent Scappoose schools superintendent resigns
The Scappoose School District spent half of 2017 in a state of transition after former Superintendent Stephen Jupe resigned from the district with one year remaining on his contract.
Jupe resigned in late June after a closed-meeting evaluation of his performance in May. Jupe, who had led the school district since his hire in 2012, resigned from the district on June 30, after he had been on medical leave for the entirety of the month.
His leave was preceded by a series of actions taken by the Scappoose School District board of directors that left Jupe's position with the district in a state of uncertainty.
In mid-May, the school board held a closed meeting to evaluate and review Jupe's performance. Although they took no actions following the executive session, board vice chair Phil Lager and former board chair Joe Lewis confirmed in the days following the closed session that the two men had met with Jupe to discuss his employment options, which included an option for him to resign. The board never completed a formal evaluation of his performance for the 2016-17 school year due to the timing of his departure from the district.
His previous evaluation in 2016 was positive, but the board had directed him to get support to assist with certain areas. Some board members and members of the public had been critical of some of his decisions earlier in the year.
While Jupe was on medical leave, the Scappoose School Board voted to begin negotiations of a separation agreement with Jupe, which was ultimately approved by both parties in late June. During Jupe's absence and following his departure, the school board appointed Ron Alley, the current director of curriculum, instruction, assessment and secondary education, to an interim superintendent position.
In July, the school board took the next step in its search for full-time superintendent and hired West Linn-based consulting firm NextUp Leadership to conduct a yearlong search and recruitment
process for qualified candidates.
St. Helens reopens shuttered school
The St. Helens School District saw a number of changes in 2017, including the reopening of Columbia City Elementary School, the approval of site designs for two new bond-funded buildings in the school district, and the hiring of numerous new leaders.
Columbia City Elementary School reopened at the start of the 2017-18 school year, after being shuttered since 2012 for budgetary reasons. The St. Helens School District spent more than a year planning and budgeting funds to reopen the school. Over the spring and summer, the district embarked on a months-long process of redrawing elementary school attendance boundaries before the school opened.
A number of new administrative staff were also hired, including interim principals at St. Helens High and Middle schools, while former Vice Principal Lisa Tyler was hired to lead McBride Elementary School, and the district hired Jennifer Vanderschuere, a former assistant principal in Beaverton, to lead Columbia City Elementary.
The district also made progress on the 2016 voter-approved bonds to create a new middle school building and alternative high school campus facility, and approved design plans. Construction is set to begin in 2018.