Superintendent search down to 5

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home School District conducted interviews with five candidates for superintendent Monday through Wednesday last week, according to Supt. Keith Winslow.

Winslow reported the status of the search Monday night to School Board members during their regular meeting.

The search committee deliberated on candidates on Thursday.

The district planned to interview six, but a candidate from California withdrew from the process, Winslow said.

The district will begin vetting the candidates, making phone calls and finding people who aren’t references to talk to in candidates’ districts, Winslow said. “We’re going to try to speed up that process if we can, so we can have a candidate hopefully by the first of March. We will be doing our second round, probably coming up this week. ”

Board members also heard from Dave Goetz, former district supervisor of maintenance, transportation and human resources, presented the board a letter that he said he received from the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission.

He provided a copy of the letter to The New Era.

The letter, signed by Victoria Chamberlain, executive director, said that the TSPC had received on Feb. 12, 2015 a report of professional misconduct by an educator. On Jan. 22, the TSPC reviewed a preliminary investigation report regarding the allegations and is taking no further action based on insufficient cause to charge Goetz with misconduct.

Goetz signed a resignation agreement with the School District on Feb. 23.

Winslow said then that the agreement included prohibitions on discussing the circumstances leading to Goetz’s resignation.

Goetz had been on paid administrative leave since Feb. 3, 2015. Under the agreement, he remained on paid leave through April with an effective resignation date of July 1.

Goetz had been named in an unfair labor practices complaint by the district’s classified employee’s union on Dec. 4, 2014. The complaint listed several issues regarding the functioning of the union. The union withdrew the complaint, and the district paid the filing fee for the complaint, $300.

Because the allegations are dismissed, said the letter, the documents and materials used in the investigation remain confidential and are not subject to public inspection.

Goetz told the board Monday that he had been employed by the district for nine years, as a building administrator and then as a district administrator working directly for former Supt. Don Schrader, who resigned at the end of 2014.

“It’s my understanding that the board wanted to go in a different direction with a new superintendent,” Goetz said. “When school districts bring in a new superintendent, that new superintendent often wants to bring in his own top assistant. I resigned my position with the School District last spring with the intention of moving on and finding a new school administration job closer to Portland.

“Unfortunately, I have not been able to get a new administration job this past year because the Oregon Teachers Standards and Practices Board suddenly put a hold on my school administrator’s license.

“TSPC held up my license because someone from this school district filed complaints against me with the state licensing office. TSPC has to investigate any complaints that are filed with them, regardless of their merit. The complaints were nothing but lies and false allegations that were obviously intended to damage my reputation and sabotage my career.”

Goetz attended the board meeting to give the board members a copy of the letter he recently received from the TSPC, saying “that their investigation is over.

“They found no merit to the accusations and that I am completely exonerated.”

His professional career was put on hold during the investigation, he said.

“Understandably, no district would hire me while I was ‘under investigation by TSPC.’ If I was hiring someone for a job and an applicant was being investigated by TSPC, I wouldn’t consider that person either.”

Goetz is 54 years old, he said, and he fully expected to be an Oregon school administrator well into his 60s, but at this point, he doesn’t know if that will ever be possible, he said.

“Remember the saying, ‘Tell a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth.’ Once a person’s professional reputation has been slandered, it’s much more difficult to get a job even after the truth comes out.”

“The complaint filed with TSPC were made up by some individual or group of individuals here in the Sweet Home School District, and I intend to find out who is responsible for the damage I’ve suffered.”

Goetz came to Sweet Home in 2006 when he became vice principal and athletic director at Sweet Home High School.

He also served as vice principal and athletic director at Sweet Home Junior High before moving to the district office.

Also on Monday, board members approved policy revisions regarding the district’s sexual conduct complaint form, Title I, parental involvement, comparability compliance and a process for annual review of parent involvement.