The superintendent of Clatskanie School District, under fire since his recommendation against renewing the elementary school principal’s contract, has announced he is temporarily stepping away from his duties.
Superintendent Lloyd Hartley issued a statement by email on April 10 that said he was advised to take an “indeterminate amount of medical leave due to adverse health effects” brought on the stress.
“It is common knowledge there is a situation that has clearly divided the community,” Hartley’s statement read. “It has been very stressful, difficult and painful for people on all sides of the issue.”
“One of my life rules is to take the doctor's advice and this is one time when it is very difficult because I know in order for a district to function, the leader needs to be present,” Hartley wrote.
According to the statement, Clatskanie School Board will contact Northwest Regional Education Service District to provide interim support in Hartley’s absence. Hartley serves as special education director for Clatskanie School District and recently proposed adding elementary school principal to his roles.
“I know I feel privileged to work here,” Hartley wrote. “My goal is to get my health situation stabilized and return to as soon as possible.”
“I encourage all staff members to continue to make a positive impact in the lives of the children and each other,” Hartley wrote.
Hartley declined to comment further on the cause of his absence or its expected length. His medical leave follows the cancellation of school board meetings due to "perceived threats" against board members and district employees.
A statement from Hartley regarding canceling future meetings was issued April 9 and said “due to the recent perceived threats directed at the board and administration, and having no imminent board business, all public Clatskanie School District meetings have been suspended until the recall process has been completed.”
Two Clatskanie School Board directors face recall. Monty Akin, school board chair, and Judy Skirvin’s positions will go to a vote on May 1. The recall initially targeted former school board chair Walt Lovegren as well. Lovegren's resignation was announced at a March 19 school board meeting.