JEWELL — After several meetings trying to find common ground, Jewell School Board seems headed toward mediating the standing disagreements between Superintendent Brian Gander and two Jewell educational associations.

The parties agreed to pick Jim Carlile, a former superintendent for Knappa School District, to facilitate the mediation process between the two groups.

“The board’s intent was to find a facilitator suitable to both parties, and Carlile fits the bill,” said Board Chairman Matt Samuelson.

The disagreements stem from what some teachers find to be a “hostile” and uncommunicative work environment. The Jewell Education Association and Oregon School Employees Association filed an official complaint in September. The board, superintendent and teachers groups later agreed to find a mediator to help them solve differences.

“It’s just a process of listening very hard. Sometimes it takes a while,” Carlile said. “I try to not come with any preconceived notions. I try to keep in mind the importance of neutrality and trying to be fair so I can truly understand the issues and how they’ve been created.”

Carlile started mediating as part of the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators’ Professional Assistance Committee. As part of the committee, he mediated disputes in Medford and Corvallis school districts – both between the superintendent and administrators – along with three other investigations for school and district administrators who were being let go.

Most recently, he worked to improve the relationship between the school board and superintendent in Riverdale, between nursing faculty and a department head at Clackamas Community College and between the administration and athletic director at St. Mary’s High School in Portland.

Carlile’s been a superintendent – interim or otherwise – at five separate school districts throughout Oregon.

“Two of the board members are going to meet with him and design the process,” said Gander.


New baseball field designed

Jewell contracted with Cardo WRG, a Portland-based civil engineering consulting firm, to design a new baseball field.

When the new Jewell School was built, its location conflicted with the district’s existing baseball field, which was removed

“Cardno’s basically doing the design work for us,” said Ryan Sunnell, facilities manager for Jewell School. “They’re designing the field and the grading. They’re waiting for the board to say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’” on whether to fund the new field.

Sunnell said Cardno threw out an estimate of $250,000 to $300,000 for the cost of construction, although the project still needs to be approved by the school board and put out for bid.