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Roseburg School District Superintendent Gerry Washburn works with fifth graders during class time at Winchester Elementary School earlier this year.

The Roseburg Public Schools Board of Directors passed a motion to put Superintendent Gerry Washburn on administrative leave Wednesday and to authorize its legal counsel to negotiate a separation agreement pursuant to his contract, which includes payment of severance.

The board met in executive session before the public meeting to consider the dismissal or discipline of Washburn. The public session started an hour past the scheduled time and was handled swiftly with a series of motions including making Director of Human Resources Robert Freeman the interim superintendent and beginning the search for a long-term replacement.

“Because of the motion that was made, I am unable to comment at this time,” board Chairman Joseph Garcia said. The board had previously met in executive sessions on Feb. 21, March 14 and March 22 to discuss the superintendent’s performance, but never completed the evaluation.

Garcia spoke with Washburn and the district’s legal counsel, Jason Montgomery of Dole Coalwell Attorneys, between the executive session and the public session. Washburn did not return to the meeting.

Board member Rodney Cotton made the official motion which was passed 4-3.

“I move to authorize legal counsel to negotiate a separation agreement with the superintendent including payment of severance pursuant to his contract on a release of all claims,” Cotton said.

There was no discussion in the open session about the decision. Any future decisions will be made at future board meetings.

Washburn started his role as superintendent of the Roseburg School District in July 2015 and his contract was scheduled to end June 2019.

At the time, Cotton, who was the board chair, said, “As he met with students, staff and community, he received strong support for his personable approach, depth of knowledge and passion to become a part of our school community.” Cotton is still on the school board, but is no longer the board chair.

Prior to his tenure at Roseburg Public Schools, Washburn had been an Assistant Superintendent for the 3,500-student Los Alamos school district in Los Alamos, New Mexico, starting in 2013. He had also been a Director of Human Resources for a year and an elementary school principal for three years. Washburn taught elementary school and coached at Los Alamos and Pojoaque Valley Schools for 10 years and was named the 2000 New Mexico 4A girls basketball coach of the year.

Washburn has a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Eastern New Mexico University.

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Business reporter

Janelle Polcyn is the business reporter at the News-Review, graduated from the University of Texas, and is a podcast enthusiast.

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