Woodburn School Superintendent Resigns One Year After Taking Job

Woodburn, Ore. — In a letter to district staff on Monday, Dr. Joe Morelock announced he was resigning from his post as District Superintendent.  He is leaving to become the Superintendent of the Willamette Educations Service District.  Dr. Morelock came to Woodburn after being fired as the Newberg School District Superintendent in 2021.

He was fired from the Newberg School District in November of 2021 after the district received much national attention when the school board banned political display’s in schools.  Opponents said the board was keeping teachers from displaying Black Lives Matter and Pride flags.

Dr. Morelock was hired in Woodburn in March of 2022.  At the time the district released a statement saying, “Morelock cares deeply about supporting bilingual students and programs; he speaks Spanish fluently and first began working in education as a Spanish teacher.  This experience and passion was particularly important to district leaders because 86% of Woodburn’s student body is Latino. He has a passion and dedication to bilingualism and looks forward to investing in Woodburn’s already extensive dual language programs.”

A Woodburn School District Spokesperson confirmed to KXL that Dr. Morelock has resigned but said he was too busy for an interview today but offered the letter sent by Dr. Morelock to district staff.

To the Woodburn staff,

On May 8, Willamette Education Service District formalized an offer for me to serve as their next superintendent, and I have accepted. It was not a decision taken easily or lightly.

I have been honored and inspired by my time in the Woodburn community. When I accepted this role, I intended to stay in this district through the end of my career. However, the superintendency of WESD offers an incredibly rare chance to make a difference in the lives of 84,000 students — including those of Woodburn School District. 

It is my hope that incoming leadership will not only reflect the community they serve but also experience the trust and goodwill of all WSD employees. 

In the meantime, I will spend each day through June 30 doing all I can to ensure a smooth transition, and look forward to advocating for the students and families of WSD at the state level. 

— Dr. Joe Morelock

This is a developing story and more information will be posted as it becomes available.