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Change in titles and shift in responsibilities are scheduled at district office as well as in some schools.

As the nature of the Newberg School District's responsibilities changes with the times, so too do the responsibilities of the individuals in leadership. That's why on May 12, the district announced a shuffling of its staff to – in its view – better serve the needs of the community.

"Superintendent Dr. Joe Morelock is making some adjustments to the district office team for the 2021-22 school year," district communications coordinator Gregg Koskela said. "While keeping the same staff FTE (full-time equivalent) funded from the general budget, these changes better align job responsibilities to current needs and use federal (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) grant money to provide temporary support to help all district students get back on track after disruptions from the pandemic."

Dr. Derek Brown, formerly the director of teaching and learning, will become the assistant superintendent of the district, providing support for internal operations, according to Koskela. The move comes as Morelock's responsibilities have seen a significant increase following the passage of the construction bond.

Administrator Karen Pugsley, who has spent years as both a teacher and administrative professional in the district, will fill Brown's role as director of teaching and learning.

"Derek and Karen have already been contributing to the district's progress in these types of ways, and the change in title matches what we need and what they are able to bring," Morelock said.

Cassandra Thornstad will fill Pugsley's administrative role, a position the district says is funded by federal ESSER grant money.

"Her expertise in analyzing student data, developing academic support solutions and online learning will support all our teachers and students K-12, helping identify gaps in student learning and create solutions," Koskela wrote. "Currently, Ms. Thonstad serves as Assistant Principal at Mountain View Middle School. A half-time temporary assistant principal will be hired for the 2021-22 school year as we evaluate the proper administrative coverage for all our schools."

The district is also creating a new position it will fill in the coming months: coordinator of federal grant programs. This position, which Koskela said is funded by the Student Investment Account, will manage federal title programs including the English Language Learner program, the Dual Language Program and the Welcome Center.

Rounding out the changes is an added responsibility for the district's nutrition services director, Shiloh Ficek, who will manage transportation in the district along with his current duties of managing food service. Those transportation duties had previously been carried out by Mountain View Middle School principal Terry McElligott.

All staffing changes will take effect July 1. For more information about district news and leadership, visit

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