By Ossie Bladine • Editor • 

Newberg schools facing sudden financial crisis

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It should be made clear that this mess stems from the actions of former Newberg school board members Dave Brown, Brian Shannon, Renee Powell, Raquel Peregrino de Brito, and current member Trevor DeHart.

These five hired Stephen in 2022, knowing he was the subject of an ongoing investigation as superintendent in Jewell and he had been forced to resign as deputy superintendent from the Beaverton school district.

Recently, Stephen was named in a federal lawsuit. The lawsuit claims Stephen and two other administrators in the Jewell School District failed to properly protect a then-14-year-old student in that district from a predatory teacher that has since been imprisoned. 

For me, it was scary to watch the transfer of this position to Stephen. 

In 2021 superintendent Joe Morelock was fired. In 2022, Brown, Shannon, Renee, Raquel and Trevor five voted to hire Stephen. 

While Joe had a glowing record of successfully balancing the school budget, Stephen had a shocking work history. In 2018 Stephen was forced to resign from the Beaverton school district for re-posting an outrageously false media message. Stephen went on to serve as superintendent of 175 students in Jewel. It had been widely published at that time that Stephen was the subject of an ongoing investigation.

Brandi Penner and fellow minority member of the board Rebecca Piros were the two nay votes. "We were told it was an ongoing investigation," said Brandi at the time. "The majority decided that it was not pertinent to his possible employment even though, as I understand, his licensing could be at jeopardy . . . " 

Dave, Brian, Renee, Raquel and Trevor put our educational system in incompetent hands.

Dave, Brian, Renee, Raquel and Trevor put Newberg's young people at risk. 

Is there any recourse for these five? 

It seems at the very least the guy who has made a huge mess in the past three places he has worked has got to go.


Totally incompetent at every position he's held. Why is he still employed?


He was a sabotage hire....loyal and incompetent.


Otis: Ohhhhhh there's a name for this! These self-proclaimed Christians have caused so much damage and pain with this sabotage hire.


I’m surprised there isn’t more coverage of this mess by the NR. The superintendent is now on “ medical leave” for two months. To avoid termination maybe?
Reportedly, If the District wants to terminate the superintendent’s employment without cause, they will need to pay him a year’s salary ($215k) and full benefits for a year. What a disaster!
The moral of the story for voters is to get educated about the people running for school board positions ( or county commissioner)….it matters!


Manyhands...I fail to understand why you feel the need to make the comment about "self-proclaimed Christians". Did the board make a bad hire? Yes, probably. But to imply that because the board are "self-proclaimed Christians" is an attack on their religious beliefs, and is unnecessary.


I am a Christian but I do not force my beliefs on the public. To do so would be a blatant disregard of our forefathers' constitutional concept of separation of church and state.

These five justified exorbitant waste of time and money, and tremendous pain to others, as adherence to Christian faith.

The leader of the Taliban in Pakistan, Maulana Fazlullah, also believed he was serving God. In the beginning he encouraged people to adopt good habits. Eventually he warned people to stop listening to music, watching movies and dancing. . . it got a lot worse.

You may think it ridiculous to compare the Newberg five to the Taliban. But forcing personal religious rules on others is an age-old theme throughout history and the world. And the result is always tremendous damage, pain and suffering.

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