School board renews superintendent’s contract, not teacher’s

Probational teacher’s non-renewal draws protests

“He  made a difference in my child’s life and I am so grateful. For the board not to listen is so wrong.” Lisa Cone, Parent of OHS Student

OROVILLE – On Monday, June 23 the Oroville School Board denied the renewal of social studies teacher Ryan Frazier’s contract drawing vocal, often loud, criticism from many in attendance as well as threats to call in the police to clear the board room.

The board supported Superintendent Steve Quick’s decision to not renew the first-year probationary teacher’s contract following an executive session to consider Frazier’s request for reconsideration. Following about one and a quarter hours behind closed doors board member Amy Wise made the motion to approve the non-renewal and the motion carried unanimously.

When board chairman Rocky DeVon asked if there were any names on the public comments sign-in sheet the meeting devolved into chaos.

Several people had signed in wanting to comment on the Frazier matter, which was an agenda item. However, DeVon said they would not hear comments on the matter, only in writing. Several people began to make their comments anyway, including parent Lisa Cone, who tearfully talked about what a positive influence the teacher was in her son’s life. Cone said that she had contacted Wenatchee and that she and the others had the right to comment orally.

That’s when DeVon said he was going to clear the room and if the “unruly” people didn’t leave he would contact the police.

“This is so disrespectful for parents, I guess we’ll not be voting for you for the board again Rocky. The school belongs to us as parents and as taxpayers,” said Cone. “You (Frazier) have made a difference in my child’s life and I am so grateful. For them (the board) not to listen is wrong.”

Cydney Smith said she had been interviewing people for a college paper on racial segregation and that the best response she got was from her nephew.

“When I asked where he had learned that he simply said ‘Frazier,’” said Smith.

Other parents also tried to stand up and talk, while Frazier’s grandmother Linda McDaniel suggested that people not support the district in the next levy. There were also additional calls to vote out board members when they next came up for election.

The board chairman announced that the board was going to move to another location and resume the meeting and that disruptive people would not be allowed to attend.

Supt. Quick cited the law he said applied to such a move and said that media representatives would allowed to attend if they were not disruptive.

“Why are you so afraid to hear our opinion?” asked Cone.

Brad Scott, the newest member of the board, said they were not legally allowed to discuss Quick’s evaluation of the teacher, but that Frazier had been notified in writing about the non-renewal. He also said that the board would only accept a written response from Frazier.

“If he was a tendered teacher it would be different, but he is provisional. He had the right to reply in writing only,” said Scott.

Cone, and several others on the sign-up sheet, insisted that they had been told at the previous board meeting that they would get a chance to speak.

“There’s a procedure  I felt I followed to a ‘T’…. I took this to the board, and that way we had another five sets of eyes to look at it.” Supt. Steve Quick, Oroville School District

The meeting was moved to the high school library and continued with the board allowing several people who were not disruptive back in. After hearing principal reports, the board voted to approve a large consent agenda, which included hiring Shay Shaw as business manager, Joan Hoehn as elementary school principal and Kristin Sarmiento as high school principal.

Item C approval of the hiring and contract for Supt. Quick was pulled out of the agenda for additional discussion.

School Director Scott asked for an executive session to further discuss Quick’s evaluation. After returning from the 15 minute closed door meeting, Director Wise made a motion to renew Quick’s contract for three more years, 2014-2017. The motion was seconded by Director Todd Hill and passed unanimously.

While Frazier would say little about what his plans would be if his contract wasn’t renewed, other than to say he’d like to travel, Quick did make a few comments after the meeting about the process.

“There’s a procedure I felt I followed to a ‘T.’ I took this to the board and that way we had another five sets of eyes to look at it… this is to protect he district and to protect Mr. Frazier,” said Quick. “In this case Ryan did ask that final action be taken in the open meeting and it was… the board followed the letter of the law.”

Quick also pointed out that the board does not always rubber stamp his decisions, pointing to their overturning of his attempt to transfer Principal Sarmiento back to a teaching job. In that case the board ruled in favor of Sarmiento and did not approve the transfer.

“He  made a difference in my child’s life and I am so grateful. For the board not to listen is so wrong.” Lisa Cone, Parent of OHS Student

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are the Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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One Response to School board renews superintendent’s contract, not teacher’s

  1. Brenda Ryan July 14, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    I am truly disappointed in our school board. It seems no matter how good a teacher is, how effective, if Quick doesn't like him he's gone. After everything, the board didn't listen and didn't care about how the parents and students felt or what they wanted. Of course, they didn't listen when Quick's shaky employment history was brought up either. How do you hire someone to be in charge of a school when he has 'resigned' or stepped down so many times in the past. In discussing this with several other people in town it is the general concensus that our only recourse is to quit voting in levies and vote out every current school board member when his term is up. This is the only way the people of this town can get a say in what happens here – hit them where they care. ln the wallet. I hope all of us who support this action can count on the support of our community to take back control of our schools. This issue isn't just about Ryan Frazier, although it alone counts. It is a perfect example of our lack of being represented by the school board. They are paid by us and we need to demand they start listening to us. I encourage everyone to do some of their own research on Steve Quick. When he resigns I'll start voting for levies again.

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