Forest Grove School District Superintendent Yvonne Curtis Resigns

Forest Grove – After just a few minutes of deliberation, The Forest Grove School Board accepted a letter of resignation from Forest Grove School District Superintendent (FGSD) Yvonne Curtis. The resignation will be effective on December 15. No reason was given during the meeting as to why Curtis was resigning, and the only reason given in the resignation letter is “I believe that now it is time for a new superintendent to lead this district into the next phase of excellence.” School board members would not give a comment on why Curtis resigned.

Assistant Superintendent John O’Neill. Photo by Chas Hundley//Gales Creek Journal

John O’Neill, who serves as Assistant Superintendent, will serve as Interim Superintendent until the district picks a new one.  The full resignation letter can be read at the bottom of this article. 

Curtis served as the FGSD superintendent for more than 8 years, having replaced the prior superintendent, Jack Musser, in 2009. Curtis is the first woman to have served as the district’s superintendent. 

For Gales Creek residents, Curtis is perhaps best known for leading the district’s administration during the Forest Grove School Board’s closure of the Gales Creek Elementary School and subsequent opening of a therapeutic day program that now brings dozens of students with “social-emotional needs, behavioral concerns and developmental disabilities” from schools in Forest Grove and out of district to a program called the Oak Grove Academy into the former elementary school.

At the meeting, board member Fred Marble read from a pre-written statement before joining all five board members in unanimously voting to accept Curtis’ resignation. “Today is the darkest day in my 16 years and 10 months on the Forest Grove School Board.” Marble read. He explained that the superintendent is the only employee who works for the board, and stated that Curtis was a “nationally recognized visionary” with an immense list of accomplishments. 

Assistant Superintendent John O’Neill thanked Curtis in a statement after the board meeting and said that he was honored to serve as the interim superintendent.

“I would like to reassure the community and staff that we will continue to build upon the great work that is going on in the district in support of our great students.” he said.

The full text of the Curtis’ resignation letter is below, as well as a video of the latter portion of the school board meeting:

“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve the students and families in our district
as superintendent of the Forest Grove School District for over the past nine years. The
leadership team and the staff of this district are the finest educators I know. Together
we have transformed this school district into a 21st Century educational system with
extremely rigorous standards, aligned curriculum, grading and instructional strategies,
and a professional learning culture committed to equity. Every year our students have
experienced higher levels of learning and access to additional opportunities on their
pathway to college and career. We have provided a model for the state in how to focus
an entire system on raising student achievement for all students while adding programs
and removing barriers for our most vulnerable children.
As you know from my prior communications, I believe that now it is time for a new
superintendent to lead this district into the next phase of excellence. With deep
appreciation for all I have learned while serving as superintendent, I ask you on behalf of
the School Board to accept my letter of resignation from the Forest Grove School
District effective December 15, 2017.
Thank you for the honor of serving as Superintendent and I sincerely wish you and our
wonderful educators success in providing every student with what they need for a
successful future.”