Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, March 12 2013 at 6:17 PM, Updated: Tue, March 12 2013 at 7:05 PM
The superintendent's eight years of service could be coming to an end.
Dr. Phil Long, Superintendent of the Medford School District may be out of a job come June of next year.
"We have to make hard decisions sometimes and sometimes we don't make the popular decision," said Dr. Phil Long.
At Monday night's meeting, board members voted to allow the superintendent's contract to naturally expire in June of 2014. But behind it all?
"There is going to be board members that differ on whether Dr. Long's performance is where they would like to see it. There is some bitter disagreement on that," said Jeff Thomas, Chair of the Medford School Board.
Thomas said some board members are dissatisfied with communication in the community and graduation rates.
"Nobody believes our graduation rates in this district are where they need to be but there's a difference in opinion on whether we're moving in the right direction," said Thomas.
According to Dr. Long, graduation rates are improving but it's a slower process because kids who have struggled in other districts are now in Medford schools.
"That's part of the reason why our graduation rate isn't as high because we accept kids who have struggled in other communities. They are all our kids," he said.
One board member, Marlene Yesquen, voted against letting Dr. Long's contract expire naturally, but mentioned she would have liked to look at early termination.
"Whether next year is my last or there are more years beyond that I have no regrets. It's been good work," said the superintendent.
Dr. Long said the board has had issues coming up with a common vision and direction.
There are three board members up for re-election this spring which means the make-up of the board could change and there might be another opportunity for board members to extend the superintendent's contract.
For now though, it will expire next June.
Superintendent Phil Long started as a new teacher in the Medford School District back in 1984. He has been superintendent for the last eight years.
Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.
Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.
Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.
Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.