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FRC Chief Instructional Officer contract not renewed

Joshua Sebold
Staff Writer

The Feather River College board of trustees voted not to renew Michael Bagley's contract as Chief Instructional Officer, allowing his current contract to end in June 2011 at the end of this fiscal year.

FRC president Dr. Ron Taylor recommended the action, which the board took at a Thursday, Dec. 16, meeting.

Taylor explained, "Non-renewal is not a firing. It's not a dismissal for cause. With non-renewal, the district is looking to go in a different direction and provide services in a different manner."

He also pointed out, "Like all certificated administrators, Dr. Bagley has a right to retreat to a faculty position and to continue his employment with the district."

Seven students picketed before the meeting, holding signs advocating for the board to retain Bagley, while more than 20 piled into the room to show support for the administrator during the meeting itself.

The board expanded the public comment period to 30 total minutes to accommodate the large number of requests to comment on the topic.

Two alumni members told the board they might not be alive if not for Bagley, many argued they wouldn't have graduated from FRC, and others said the administrator was always available to them in his office or home.

Part-time instructor and Students in Free Enterprise advisor Amy Schulz, Bagley's wife, said recruiting a replacement for her husband would be costly.

She also told the board her husband was "devastated this was sprung on him last week with no warning, in my opinion in a very unprofessional way."

Many students described Bagley as "the ambassador of FRC" or made similar comments.

One member of the public spoke up in support of the non-renewal.

Associate faculty member Wendy Wayman said she was "overwhelmed with this emotional response."

"I think it's fabulous testament to Dr. Bagley's efficacy as a teacher and a counselor on campus. I don't think there's any question but that he brings heart and soul to the campus."

She added that, despite those sentiments, his ability as dean of instruction was at question, not his personality or role as a teacher.

"This position requires a great deal of sophisticated analytical skill," she explained.

Wayman indicated this wasn't a unilateral decision by Taylor, but a conclusion reached "through a long formal process of evaluation."

"There's been a number, over the years, of poor evaluations. There was a very democratically administered evaluation of the campus by a third party, an independent party, and this is the result."

The administrator's nephew, Travis Bagley, told Feather Publishing numerous calls, e-mails, letters and a 250-signature petition were sent to the board to argue for his uncle's reinstatement.

After the public comment period concluded, student trustee Tess Oliphant motioned for Bagley's non-renewal to be removed from the consent agenda.

That motion died, as no other trustee seconded it.

Trustee Leah West motioned for the consent agenda to be approved, as presented, and trustee John Schramel seconded the motion.

The motion passed with Oliphant voting "no."

Later in the meeting, trustee John Sheehan utilized the Trustees Report section of the agenda to comment that he wanted the college and Bagley to work together to ensure the Bagley/Schulz family stayed in Quincy, essentially arguing that Bagley should accept a position as an instructor.

"You're both valuable and well-loved people and let's see if we can figure this out in a way that provides some security to you and meets the college's needs."

"I think that's the trustees' goal from this point on and I hope it will be yours too," he concluded.

West and board chairman Bill Elliott voiced their agreement with Sheehan's sentiment.

Bagley took his opportunity to speak during the Instruction Report section of the agenda.

He thanked those who supported him and told them he was praying before the meeting when the song "Born Again" by the Newsboys came on.

"I feel like maybe today I have been born again and I'm thankful for everything."

"Being the dean of instruction is the hardest position on this campus and it's been awesome, and I respect your decision for what's right for the college."

"I don't necessarily agree with it, but I respect you tremendously, and I ask humbly for the best consideration for my family," he added.

He went on to thank "my inspiration, Mrs. Amy Schulz over here, and all the work you did to light a fire under a lot of people to say what they thought."

Addressing the college at large he concluded, "I hope that we continue to be student centered, and I know if I have anything to say about it I will definitely keep fighting for the students and the instructional programs no matter what position I'm in."

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