Superintendent Steve Webb placed on administrative leave by Vancouver School Board

The unanimous decision came after a 90-minute executive session on Tuesday evening

VANCOUVER — With just over four months remaining in his time as Vancouver Public Schools superintendent, Steve Webb was abruptly placed on administrative leave by the district’s board of directors in a 4-0 vote on Tuesday night.

Webb, who has been the district’s top administrator since 2008, was set to step down at the end of June, but had been planning to stay on to assist his replacement through the 2021-22 school year.

Vancouver Public Schools Superintendent Steve Webb was placed on administrative leave this week by the school board. File photo
Vancouver Public Schools Superintendent Steve Webb was placed on administrative leave this week by the school board. File photo

During Tuesday’s board meeting, the directors entered a closed-door executive session for nearly 90 minutes “to discuss the performance of a public employee.” 

Following that session, the board voted unanimously to place Webb on administrative leave effective immediately, “while we enter into contract negotiations.”

In an email to Clark County Today, Board President Kyle Sproul confirmed the decision, but did not provide a reason for it.

“The appointment of an Interim Superintendent as well as an update on the search for candidates for a new Superintendent will be discussed at Thursday’s public meeting,” Sproul wrote.

The board was previously scheduled to hold a pair of special meetings to hear from superintendent candidates selected by an outside firm, Nebraska-based McPherson and Jacobson.

The move comes as the district was set to welcome middle school students back into classrooms on Feb. 22, a week later than originally intended. The delay was prompted by numerous technical errors with a survey sent out to parents on Feb. 4.

A special meeting was held on Feb. 5 by the board, also to discuss the performance of a public employee. The full session was posted to the board’s YouTube channel, but contains no discussion about the nature of the meeting.

Prior to Tuesday’s special session, several board members had expressed concerns about the speed at which the district was moving to bring students back for hybrid in-person instruction, and delays in getting class schedules out only a day ahead of a deadline to complete the survey.

“I’m glad the schedule came out today,” said Sproul, “just, we’re moving very quickly. And the ability to make all the logistical, executional decisions, there’s a natural sequence.”

There has also been continuing pushback from the teacher’s union over plans to bring more educators into classrooms with older students before they have a chance to be fully vaccinated. Webb has repeatedly insisted that current hybrid classes have led to no major outbreaks, and that students need classroom instruction in order to succeed.

Clark County Today has reached out to Webb for comment and will update this story with any response.


About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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