Eugene 4J Schools Chief Andy Dey is Out

The school board will not renew Dey’s contract. Last month, board members made a behind-closed-doors finding that Dey retaliated against a middle-school teacher.

Andy Dey. Courtesy Eugene School District 4J.

The Eugene School District 4J board voted unanimously on March 6 not to renew Superintendent Andy Dey’s contract after concluding that Dey targeted a female middle-school teacher for retaliation. 

“Superintendent Dey and members of this board have carefully considered present circumstances, and it’s our mutual and considered decision to separate at this time,” 4J board chair Maya Rabasa said, reading from a joint statement issued by the board and Dey. 

The vote ends Dey’s brief tenure in 4J’s top job and speculation about how the Eugene school board would deal with a confidential investigation into possible misconduct.

Dey will continue to serve as superintendent until June 30. His contract doesn’t expire until June 2025, and the agreement may compel 4J to keep paying Dey his $240,000 annual salary for up to 12 months.

The decision leaves 4J, the state’s seventh-largest school district, without a permanent leader for the second time in four years. 

And the decision comes at a risky moment for 4J, two months before the district will ask voters in May to renew a five-year tax levy to fund school operations. The levy will raise between $26.4 million to $29.8 million a year.

Dey, 52, declined to comment after the meeting. Rabasa also declined to answer questions about why the board took the action and how its members will deal with questions about their decision.

The board’s investigation has been shrouded in secrecy. Board members still have not publicly acknowledged their reprimand of Dey or its link to the decision to let his contract expire.

One member of the public, Carrie Copeland, criticized the secrecy around the board’s decision-making. Copeland said she has known and admired Dey for 25 years, beginning when she worked with him at 4J.

“The lack of clarity and process casts a shadow on a really remarkable person, his character and his career,” Copeland told the board. “You risk losing the trust of this community, which hurts this district. I request that you release the contents of the investigation to verify your process.”

Dey has been superintendent for less than two years. When he was hired in June 2022, Dey won praise for his administrative skills — Dey worked as an administrator for multiple Eugene and Springfield schools, as the principal of South Eugene High School, and as 4J’s director of secondary education.

The board also received messages from 4J employees that Dey had a history of bullying, especially female employees. The concerns divided the previous board, which voted to hire Dey.

On Jan. 26, Eugene Weekly first reported that Dey was under investigation for retaliating against a middle-school teacher. 

Sources familiar with the investigation say that, in October 2023, a 4J middle-school teacher said she faced discrimination by Dey. The details of the allegations remain confidential, contained in an investigative report that 4J has declined to make public.

A month later, on Feb. 21, the board voted unanimously to reprimand an unnamed school employee for retaliation. EW reported at the time that Dey was the target of reprimand. (The board did not uphold the discrimination complaint.) 

On March 4, EW reported on a new complaint against Dey: A teacher alleged that Dey kissed her on the cheek without her consent at a South Eugene High School on Feb. 24. The incident took place less than two weeks after the Eugene school board reprimanded Dey for retaliating against the middle-school teacher.

Reporter Ezra Banuelos contributed to this story.

This story was developed in partnership with the Local Reporting Initiative of the Catalyst Journalism Project at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. To learn more, visit

The following is a joint statement released on March 6 by the Eugene School District 4J Board and Superintendent Andy Dey:

“Superintendent Dey and the members of this board have carefully considered present circumstances, and it is our mutual and considered decision to separate at this time. 

“As the superintendent and locally elected school board members, all of our number one priority is safeguarding the interests of our more than 16,000 students. Our students and their families get up every weekday morning for school, and they have placed their trust in us to provide the very best educational experience we can. 

“In navigating the complexities of this transition, we acknowledge the constraints imposed by personnel and legal matters. We appreciate the community’s understanding and patience as we adhere to these necessary protocols, always striving for fairness and transparency. Meeting that responsibility often requires difficult and thoughtful decisions. 

“We have many responsibilities as an administration and a board, including ensuring our leadership and staff can work together to better our students’ futures. We know that Eugene 4J is a large and very complex district that requires deep  experience and prudent skills as an executive, and we appreciate the thought both the superintendent and the board members have put into this difficult decision. 

“As district leaders, we will continue to work towards accountability, effective leadership, and community engagement to live up to the expectations of our students, staff, and community. The board and staff will continue to work on next steps in the coming days and weeks. We would like to thank Dr. Dey for his long service here in Eugene as a teacher and administrator. He has had a positive impact on many young lives, and we wish him well.” 

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