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Clatskanie Middle/High School

Clatskanie Middle-High School Principal Amy McNeil will be leaving Columbia County to become the principal at Waldport High School on the Oregon Coast.

Reasons for McNeil’s departure have not been disclosed.

McNeil was at the center of a firestorm of controversy surrounding former Clatskanie Elementary Principal Brad Thorud that, like a Shakespeare tragedy, did away with most of the district’s central cast of characters.

According to Thorud’s working file, he allegedly threatened McNeil on Jan. 26. McNeil’s lawyer then sent a letter chastising the board and administration, saying it had allowed Thorud to create a hostile work environment. The letter included a threat to sue.

“While Ms. (Amy) McNeil has no desire to sue the District, she cannot continue working under the conditions that presently exist,” Salem-based lawyer Nathan Rietmann wrote.

The district chose not to renew Thorud’s contract in March, sparking a peaceful protest by students and parents, the resignation of Superintendent Lloyd Hartley, the departure of one school board member and a successful recall effort to remove two other board members.

McNeil was not available to provide comment Monday afternoon.

Clatskanie’s interim superintendent, Jim Carlile, couldn’t speak as to why McNeil was leaving but wished her the best of luck in Waldport.

“I wish her well, and she’ll be a great addition to that school district,” he said. “I’m sure that they’re going to enjoy having her there.”

According to Carlile, Middle-High Vice Principal (and Clatskanie City Councilman) Jim Helmen will take over as principal at the start of the 2018-19 school year. The district has not decided who will replace Helmen.

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