The Crook County School Board accepted the resignaton of Superintendent Dr. Sara Johnson Monday as the shakeup of leadership in the district continues.
Last week, Johnson announced she would seek a mutual agreement to leave her post. The board granted the agreement for her July 6 resignation. But she has agreed to be available in an interim role on a consulting basis.
Johnson, Oregon’s reigning Superintendent of the Year, cited last month’s school board election as a key reason for her departure. That election saw victories by Cheyenne Edgerly, Jessica Brumble, and Jennifer Knight. The three women unseated incumbent board members.
“I do not accept the blame for this. I have been committed and dedicated to this district and have done the work at the level of a superintendent of the year,” said Johnson. “I believe that the board is fully aware of the facts that I put forward, and I went and got those facts from people’s documents. I did not make those.”
Dr. Johnson said the new members do not share her vision for leadership.
“So, it’s not a mystery that people act in a way to get an employee to leave,” said Johnson. “All of you are very educated, and you are aware that sometimes there are ways to get rid of an employee other than firing them.”
The board voted 3-1 to accept Johnson’s mutual termination under the agreement of three months of compensation, helping with the new superintends transition.
Monday night was filled with goodbyes as the school board endures a significant transition of power.
“I’m just going to caution the new board,” said outgoing board member Doug Smith. “Lies have impacts on people, right? Some, I forgive them. You’re forgiven. But I’ll never forget.”
“Probably the comments that I’ve heard from outside people the most is that being on the school board is a thankless job, and my response is always that it’s not,” said outgoing board member Patti Norris. “It’s the best job.”
“I’m so proud to have served with you two, and I’ve learned a lot watching you, and I’m very grateful for that,” said outgoing board member Jessica Ritter.
The board on Monday was also supposed to fill the seat left open by the resignation of Gwen Carr. But they were not able to pick her replacement because of a lawsuit, claiming the board violated policy in announcing Carr’s resignation and attempting the fill the seat Monday night.
“It was brought to our attention this afternoon that Vance Day filed for preliminary injunction on behalf of Cheyenne Edgerly, Jennifer Stevens, Jessica Lay, and Michael Custer, and we will not be proceeding with appointing the board member to fill the at-large position tonight until after we have that hearing next week. We will see if we are able to continue with that appointment,” said Ritter. “So thank you for all 23 of you who applied for that position. We hope to get to hear those eventually.”