Retaliation at 4J

Eugene District 4J School Board reprimands Superintendent Andy Dey for retaliating against a teacher. Dey’s future in the district's top job remains in doubt.

Andy Dey. Courtesy Eugene School District 4J.

By Sophia Cossette and Tristin Hoffman

Eugene School District 4J Superintendent Andy Dey retaliated against an middle school teacher who said she faced discrimination under his leadership, according to a finding by the district’s school board.

(Read the update here.)

In a Feb. 21 public meeting, the school board took the extraordinary step of voting unanimously to reprimand Dey.

But the board members did so without publicly naming Dey or revealing details of his misconduct.

During the meeting, the board voted on a motion that disclosed that the district had received an October 2023 complaint alleging that an unnamed school official had discriminated and retaliated against another district employee. 

The motion said the board had “insufficient evidence” to establish racial or gender discrimination.

But the allegations of retaliation following protected activity are sustained,” the motion said, “and a letter of reprimand will be placed in the responding party’s personnel file, and responding party will be required to complete training on retaliation.”

Sources familiar with the investigation tell Eugene Weekly that Dey is the unnamed subject of the board’s actions, and that he retaliated against a middle school teacher. 

After the board meeting, 4J Board Chair Maya Rabasa declined to discuss the decision, noting that she and other board members agreed to limit what they said publicly.

“I need to honor what we agreed, as much as I would love to chat about all the details,” she said.

 During the meeting, Dey sat impassively as the board approved the motion. He declined to speak to Eugene Weekly or answer questions about the board’s action.

Board members did not address the larger question: Whether they will seek to remove Dey as superintendent. It’s a job Dey won less than two years ago despite complaints from district employees that he often bullied and intimidated female employees.

EW on Jan. 26 broke the news that Dey faced an investigation into claims he discriminated against a female grade-school teacher and targeted her for retaliation.

The district first received the complaint  on Oct. 11, 2023, and the board hired a Seattle law firm to investigate. 

Over the past month, the board has met in executive session five times to “consider the dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent.”

Controversy about Dey has hovered over him and the district since a deeply divided board voted 4-3 to hire Dey in June 2022. 

At the time, the school board received written comments from current and former district employees that described Dey’s use of bullying and intimidation tactics while he worked as a 4J administrator. The employees —  most writing anonymously — said they feared Dey would retaliate against them if he learned their identities.

After he was hired as superintendent, Dey said he welcomed a “full and open investigation” of any complaint against him and that he “participate in any such investigation willingly and honestly.”

Meanwhile, 4J has been withholding public documents related to Dey’s current employment. EW has repeatedly requested a copy of Dey’s employment contract and information about his salary.

The district has yet to release the public documents.


This story has been updated to reflect the teacher who experienced retaliation is a middle, not elementary, school teacher.

Comments are closed.