Tag Archives: Jean Riley

School Board Grants Riley Unpaid Leave

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

Betta Fish Project Teaches Students About Life Cycle

BettaFish1-webVernonia High School students have been learning about science and the natural world through a unique, hands-on project initiated by teacher Jean Riley.

Students in Riley’s classes have been raising, mating and observing betta fish for the past few years and have learned quite a bit about genetics, the life cycle, and basic fish care.  Riley teaches Biology, Physical Science, and Natural Resources.

The project began two years ago, when Riley rescued a dying fish from a pet store.  He lacked color and had lost his fins.  Riley brought him into her classroom and set up an aquarium, telling her students she didn’t expect the fish to survive, but at least its passing could be more peaceful.  She says she used the rescued fish to help teach the students about their own connection to animals.  “Many young people don’t know very much about animals—that they might have feelings, or anything like that,” explains Riley.  “Any time you can get them to connect, it is good.” Read More