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Reynolds High principal placed on unpaid leave

Jeff Gilbert let his administrator license expire
by: File photo Reynolds High School Principal Jeff Gilbert has been placed on unpaid leave after letting his administrator's license expire.

Reynolds High School Principal Jeff Gilbert was placed on unpaid leave following the lapse of his administrator's license Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Gilbert, who has been principal at Reynolds since 2008, received an extra five months in July 2011 to get his license in order through the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission. But that grace period lapsed, said Andrea Watson, Reynolds School District spokeswoman.

Tony Mann, assistant district superintendent, took over Gilbert's duties at Reynolds High in addition to his normal responsibilities.

Victoria Chamberlain, executive director of the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission in Salem, said Gilbert's emergency license application was incomplete because it was missing a required co-application from the district.

Chamberlain said Gilbert has not completed state-required coursework on school administration through an approved administrative licensure program at a university, which is required for renewal of his administrator's license.

Each three-year renewal requires six semester hours (or nine quarter hours) of coursework toward the Continuing Administrator License, which focuses on school-district level leadership, she said.

Short-term administrator's licenses are issued when there are extenuating circumstances as to why the educator could not complete the required coursework within three years, she said.

Reynolds High School enrolled 2,617 students at the start of the 2011-12 school year. About 65 percent of students are on free or reduced lunch and 10 percent speak English as a second language.

Gilbert's tenure as principal has coincided with the Reynolds district facing deep budget cuts, teacher and staff layoffs and increased class sizes because of past financial mismanagement and a decline in state funding.

Reynolds High School was labeled a 'dropout factory' in a controversial Johns Hopkins study in 2007 that found fewer than 60 percent of students who entered Reynolds as freshmen in 2002 had graduated four years later.

Gilbert has been praised for tackling Reynolds High's dropout label through a number of efforts such as a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and gangs and by finding new ways to motivate students and staff.

In June 2010, Reynolds graduated its largest class ever: 579 students, or 70 percent of the number of students who enrolled as freshmen four years earlier.

Susan Castillo, Oregon superintendant of public instruction, took her oath of office for a third four-year term at Reynolds High in January 2011. Castillo said she chose Reynolds to highlight the school's turnaround over the past few years.

However, 52 percent of its 725 students at the beginning of the 2010-11 class graduated on time; 36 percent of those students dropped out, and the other 12 percent were enrolled for a fifth year or received special diplomas, according to the Oregon Department of Education.




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