The Vernonia School Board met in a Special Public Meeting on Thursday, January 15 and voted unanimously to grant popular high school science teacher Jean Riley unpaid leave until February 12, 2015
Riley’s teaching license expired on December 31, 2014. She told the board she is only weeks away from completing a Masters Degree and applying to have her teaching license renewed.
Riley has been a teacher in the Vernonia School District since 2003.
Miller placed Riley on unpaid leave, according to District policy, when she was unable to complete the needed work in time to meet the December 31 deadline imposed by the State of Oregon.. Riley then made a request for Emergency Leave in order to complete the renewal of her license. Miller denied the Emergency Leave request based on the fact that without a teaching license Riley was no longer covered under the rules of the District’s collective bargaining agreement. Riley appealed Miller’s decision to the School Board, which led to the Special Meeting. According to the agenda for the meeting Miller was prepared to bring forward to the Board a recommendation to terminate Riley.
Twenty-eight people spoke on behalf of Riley at the School Board meeting, including current and former students, other teachers, parents of students and community members. All delivered a similar message: Riley is an organized, dedicated and respected teacher who challenges her students. Many called her one of the best teachers in the District. Riley spoke last and tearfully apologized to the audience, her students and the School Board, explaining that she had numerous personal issues over the last year which kept her from completing her license renewal. Read More