Subscribe for 33¢ / day
Bethany Baker, The World

COOS BAY — A seat has opened up on the Coos Bay School Board. Longtime member and former chairman of the board, James Martin, resigned from his post in December after nearly seven years.

Current chairman Adrian DeLeon said Martin will be greatly missed.

“He was a fantastic addition to the board, a consummate professional, extremely knowledgeable on matters of the district,” DeLeon told The World. “He’s been essential on our classified and certified negotiations team, able to talk about difficult subjects in a professional manner.”

DeLeon remembered when he joined the board a year after Martin in 2011, it was during the time when the district had decided to shut down the Bunker Hill location, move to a four-day school week and had recently hired a new superintendent, the controversial Dawn Granger.

“It was a lot at one time,” DeLeon said.

Martin was appointed to position number five on the board in October of 2010 and then elected to position number three, where he remained until his resignation just before the New Year.

“He was the longest sitting board member among the sitting board,” DeLeon said.

Not only that, but Martin served as board chair for a total of three years. Initially he did a two-year stint as board chair, but returned after a short hiatus when the drama regarding former-Superintended Dawn Granger began tearing the district apart.

“He was the best person to handle that,” DeLeon said. “He is the epitome of professional. When you’re in a situation where tempers are flaring like that, he’s the person who can deliver bad news and you find yourself thanking him for it.”

Martin also became the voice in favor of the Coos Bay BEST Bond after former board member Rocky Place resigned in 2016.

Now the school board is accepting applications for someone to take Martin’s place.

The immediate opening of position number three will last until June 30, 2019. Applications must be postmarked in two weeks by January 31. Mailed applications are to be sent to the attention of the board of directors at 1255 Hemlock Avenue in Coos Bay.

To be eligible, applicants must be a registered voter and have lived in the district for at least one year. Applications can be found here.

“You hate to say that you’re never going to find someone to fill James’ shoes, but he has big shoes to fill,” DeLeon said. “We hope to get someone who has the same amount of dedication to our kids and our district, willing to jump in and learn the ropes and do anything they can to move our district along.”

For more information about applying for the board, call the Superintendent’s Office at 541-267-1310.

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.