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WELD RE5-J School Board Issues Statement Concerning Personnel Matters

Dear Weld RE-5J Families –

Our district has experienced an unprecedented number of serious personnel issues in this first semester brought about by specific actions of some teachers. We have been addressing each issue internally while maintaining a level of discretion in the information we share with the community.  However, a good deal of misinformation has been circulated, which played a role in events that took place in our district earlier today. We believe we have a duty to the vast majority of our staff who have conducted themselves professionally, and to all of our parents and students as well, to dispel the misinformation and to reestablish the educational credibility of the school district. That is why we are taking this step to share some details about disciplinary actions we have taken.

While we share this information to be transparent, we also wish to convey that these few instances are not representative of the majority of the Weld RE-5J workforce who are dedicated to our students and follow district policies while creating high-quality educational environments that facilitate student success. In nearly all circumstances, our employees have the best interest of students at heart and make our school district and community extremely proud. Every day they step up and meet the high expectations we have for them as educators and employees. However, inappropriate behavior that violates district policy or puts students at risk will neither be overlooked nor tolerated by the district.

We fully realize that it is unprecedented for the district to release details concerning personnel issues; however, due to the impact misinformation has had our educational focus today, we have chosen to release detailed information regarding current outcomes.

Jay Moser, Spanish teacher at Roosevelt High School – The termination of Mr. Moser was recommended to the Board of Education on September 19, 2018. This recommendation was based upon Mr. Moser’s history of engaging in inappropriate, unprofessional behavior with staff and students at Roosevelt High School, culminating in an inappropriate interaction with a student in front of an entire classroom on August 22, 2018. The Board is currently proceeding with this termination process.

Matt Ohlson, Social Studies teacher at Roosevelt High School – The termination of Mr. Ohlson was recommended to the Board of Education on October 17, 2018.  This termination was recommended after tests indicated he was intoxicated during the school day while on high school property, and a citation was issued to him by the Johnstown Police Department. Mr. Ohlson subsequently worked with the Superintendent and Director of Human Resources to develop a resignation agreement in an effort for Mr. Ohlson to move forward in a positive manner.

Brian Nelson, Language Arts teacher at Milliken Middle School – Mr. Nelson has been on paid administrative leave since allegations were received regarding inappropriate social media interaction with a student. The Johnstown Police Department conducted an investigation, and our district has retained an independent investigator to conduct an investigation as well. Until the results of these investigations are finalized and the appropriate next steps are determined he will remain on administrative leave.

Laura Cole, Music teacher at Milliken Elementary School – Ms. Cole was placed on paid administrative leave due to health concerns. While on paid administrative leave, it was discovered that she brought numerous deadly weapons to her classroom. No students were injured by these weapons, which were recovered by the Milliken Police Department. The police department investigation is ongoing. The district is in the process of completing its investigation and at that time will determine the appropriate next steps. Until then, Ms. Cole will remain on paid administrative leave.

Noland Eastin, PE teacher at Roosevelt High School – As we shared with RHS families earlier this week, Mr. Eastin was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into an incident that concerned the safety of a student who was medically restricted from any physical activity. This investigation was completed yesterday and he accepted a new teaching position at RHS as a social studies teacher. Mr. Eastin has a teaching endorsement from the Colorado Department of Education in Social Studies which indicates he is highly qualified for the position, helps us fill the role left vacant by Mr. Ohlson, and allows him to remain at RHS. To be clear, at no point was Mr. Eastin terminated nor was termination ever proposed or discussed. He was on paid administrative leave while the district completed its investigation and an amicable resolution was reached.

While disciplinary actions have been taken, there are many erroneous reports that we have fired or placed a much larger number of teachers on leave. There are other staff members who are on personal medical leave and we wish them well in their recovery.

Under ordinary circumstances, we would not discuss personnel issues in such detail. We respect the privacy of our staff and want to ensure we take the time to investigate all aspects of allegations prior to determining how best to move forward, a professional courtesy present in most professional work environments. However, because these actions, and the subsequent erroneous information about them, have negatively impacted the educational credibility of the district, we feel the details needed to be shared.

We are as transparent as we can possibly be with our community at all times. We do not rush these investigations and take the time we need to ensure next steps are warranted given the circumstances. Our silence during investigations on these matters is to protect the privacy of those involved and to prevent compromising the ongoing investigations.

Our hope is that we do not have any issues in the future, but we will not hesitate to act immediately to protect our students or enforce district policies when necessary.

Sincerely,

Steve McCarthy
Board President

Peggy Wakeman
Board Vice President

Cathy Hull
Board Treasurer

John Bruce
Director, District B

Michael Wailes
Director, District C

Leslie Arnold
Weld RE-5J Superintendent

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