beth woolsey

mess maker • magic finder • rule breaker • kindness monger

Carey Martell Lies About and Threatens Newberg School Employees and Is Publicly Thanked by Board Chair Dave Brown

Dearest Friends,
 
If you follow me on the socials, you know the battle we’re fighting for integrity, transparency, and fiscal responsibility on our local school board. You also know I and the Facebook group I started, Newberg Equity in Education (NEEd), have been called a cult, a mafia, and violent mob instigators. It seems ridiculous to have to explicitly state that those are lies. Nevertheless, here we are. We are not a cult. We are not a mafia. We have never instigated a mob, violent or otherwise.
 
I will tell you, though, that it has been a real struggle to know when and how and whether to address the legion of false accusations. They are so ludicrous that I’d like to count on folks having common sense to see through such transparent efforts to defame individuals and our group. They are so absurd as to be laughable. And yet…AND YET, friends…if we’ve learned nothing since 2016, I HOPE we’ve learned that lies repeated often enough are accepted as truth. It’s a deceptive AND VERY EFFECTIVE tactic. We know that silence in cases of injustice benefits the oppressor. But we also don’t want to give attention to the liars, right? We don’t want to amplify their message. They can do their own work tearing us down; helping them do it seems stupid. 
 
So that’s the struggle. That’s the push-me/pull-you of the past many months. There is one individual who’s declared himself a reliable authority (while being neither) and has spread falsehood after falsehood about NEEd, its members, and myriad engaged community members who’ve spent countless hours and days and weeks and years building up our little town. Personally? If it was just me he was slandering, I’d ignore it. I’ve been slandered publicly before. Whatever. However, it’s not just me. And he has gained a following and traction among a subset of our community. And that means there’s a group of voters who believe his rewriting of this narrative. There’s a group of voters who believe his vitriol. There’s a group of voters who believe our schools are actually under attack from our teachers, staff, and administrators who he (and folks affiliated with him) claims are “indoctrinating” our students rather than educating them, teaching our kids to subscribe to far-left, Marxist ideology rather than learning critical thinking. 
 
And it is SO DISHEARTENING to watch the morale of the employees of our school district plummet. Everyone who knows teachers know they require an enormous amount of education to become educators themselves. They take out loans. They study. They become experts in their field because they care so deeply for our children. They take jobs where they’re likely to be grossly underpaid compared to their peers with similar levels of education. They teach in increasingly difficult circumstances with a lack of funding and now a plague. They’re overworked and underappreciated. And now, in Newberg, they’re accused of indoctrination. It’s just…stunning to watch these passionate, selfless humans being degraded day in and day out.
 
But the OTHER reason I’ve been reluctant to speak out against the lies has been that THERE ARE JUST SO DANG MANY OF THEM. Like, this dude writes an enormous amount of content full of a neverending cascade of misdirection and untruth, and–I mean, kudos to him–it’s truly overwhelming to know which lies to tackle while also feeding and clothing my children, running to appointments, navigating a plague, fundraising for kids in Kenya, organizing Secret Santa for the internets, promoting the NEEd clothing and supplies drive run by my friend, Tai, who’s been vilified by the dude again and again. Like… WHERE DO YOU EVEN START? Especially when I’m unwilling to give this guy any more real estate in my brain. Especially when I choose to use my time and energy for more proactive JOY-BRINGING than reactive lie-dispelling. 
 
You hear me? It’s like trying to decide when and where and how to deep dive into a sewer to unclog the pipes. You know the crap is gonna keep piling up, but you really don’t want to submerge yourself in it with no guarantees of solving the problem.
 
All of which is why I was SO GRATEFUL to hear from my friend, Elaine Koskela, because Elaine, an employee of NPS, has taken the time to write an exposé on this dude which holds him accountable for a select few of his lies and unpacks his ties to our school board chair. She wrote to me, in part, “I am thankful to be working with an amazing team at Catalyst High School in Newberg. Having said that, I have never seen morale so low and do not believe I can continue working for this district if the board continues in the direction they are heading. This is true for many of us. I’m also so tired of the attacks. So I, who hate writing, have written this to try to shed light on one small area that has had a huge impact on morale in the district.” Elaine has also filed a more comprehensive version of this as a formal complaint with the Newberg school board.
 
If you live in the Newberg Public Schools district, I do hope you’ll read Elaine’s piece below and consider it when deciding how to vote by January 18th. And I hope, too, that you’ll VOTE YES so we can restore integrity, transparency, and fiscal responsiblity to our schools.  
 

With love and hope,

Carey Martell Lies About and Threatens Newberg School Employees and Is Publicly Thanked by Board Chair Dave Brown

by Elaine Koskela

I am writing this as a private citizen to share my perspective and thoughts around the Newberg School Board. These are my personal thoughts, and not as a representative of the Newberg School District.

Carey Martell, a former Newberg resident and vocal supporter of Newberg School Board members Trevor DeHart, Renee Powell, Dave Brown, and Brian Shannon, is a self-described journalist and blogger on a mission to take down anyone supporting the recall of Brown and Shannon. He has been using social media to spread conspiracy theories for months, with claims so ludicrous many have chosen to ignore him. 

On the Save Our Schools Newberg Facebook page—the page that supports DeHart, Powell, Brown, and Brian Shannon and opposes the recall—Martell has staged a disturbing verbal attack on Newberg’s residents, including me, a Success Coach for Catalyst High School. 

In Martell’s attack on me, he claims that “if Joe Morelock had been a good superintendent you….would be fired and no longer working for the school district..”  He says I am “poisoning our kids” with my “nonsense.” He tells me, “You deserve to be fired..,” and “you know your time is limited.”  These are hurtful and harmful threats and false accusations.

Martell made a similiar threat to my co-worker Josh Reid on a community Facebook page Martell moderates. Josh was not at all involved in the conversation, yet Martell attacked him with another hurtful, harmful threat and false accusation. Josh Reid is an incredibly talented Catalyst school counselor.  Martell said “It’s just a matter of time until a new superintendent is chosen and you get fired Reid. Morelock wouldn’t terminate you for the FERPA violation. I bet the next one will.”  

On his blog, The Yamhill Advocate, Martell has devoted full articles to attacking Chehalem Valley Middle School counselor Maddie Kozloff and principal Casey Petrie. Staff and family of staff from all our schools as well as the District Office staff have also been maliciously attacked. The school board is supposed to support our staff. What do they think about these wide-spread attacks on Newberg School District staff?

Unfortunately, these are just drops in the ocean of vile lies and attacks Carey Martell has made to many community members. The number of people he has intimidated, silenced, and hurt is astounding. 

Martell is an activist in “Free Oregon.” At an online “Free Oregon” rally, Martell promoted himself and stated two lies about the NEEd Facebook group at this gathering (click here: Martell’s comments begin at timestamp 18:39), “There is a movement nationwide called Indivisible… They encourage, you know, what I regard to be paper terrorism sort of tactics where they just constantly call senators and representatives and even private companies overwhelming their phones and email boxes with templates constantly every day in this sort of very aggressive, very militant uh harassment campaign is basically what they like to do. And they’ve done some of this in Newberg, as well, as I’m sure Dave Brown will be able to tell you ’cause I’ve seen the public records requests of his inbox and they’ve definitely done that to him. So uh this Indivisible movement, they’ve made a chapter here in Yamhill County… the Newberg chapter of them is Newberg Equity in Education. They’ve got about 600 people, um most, almost the entire teacher’s union is part of it and their specific agenda with the Newberg group was to get Critical Race Theory into the school system curriculum.” 

First, after smearing a group called “Indivisible” (which appears to be a progressive get-out-the-vote group), he claimed Newberg Equity in Education (NEEd) is a chapter of them. NEEd is now and has always been solely a local Facebook group with no ties to any other organization.

In his second lie, Martell claims NEEd exists to put Critical Race Theory in the curriculum. Putting CRT in the Newberg Public Schools curriculum has never been discussed in the NEEd group as a goal.

“Almost the entire teacher’s union is part of [NEEd]” is another lie. Teachers in the union–along with any individual who supports equity and anti-racism in Newberg Public Schools–are certainly allowed be part of the group, but most or almost all the members of the teachers’ union are not part of NEEd. NEEd is grateful for all Newberg school district employees who have joined the local effort because discussing equity in education is essential when we hold a high value of care for all students.  

In several school board meetings, Brown has bitterly complained about attacks and lies and said they need to stop. That could sound like he’s ready to stand up to Martell. But does he condemn Martell’s actions against Newberg Public Schools’ employees? He doesn’t. Let’s listen to Chair Brown’s own words as he was campaigning at the same “Free Oregon” event that featured Carey Martell (click here: Brown’s comments begin at timestamp 22:30). “Before I go any farther, I’d like to thank Carey. I haven’t got to do that publicly yet. He has really put a lot of work into what he’s done and, Carey, thank you. You know, I haven’t got a chance in this kind of setting so it’s just amazing that somebody would put this much effort out.” 

The truth is, Chair Brown has never checked in with the numerous Newberg staff who have been attacked by Carey Martell. The truth is, Brown is supportive of Martell’s work as shown by his words at this online “Free Oregon” event. 

Several long-time employees with the district, including myself, are being threatened about employment on Facebook by Carey Martell in his self-appointed role as investigative journalist on behalf of the board majority. Without a response from Brown or other School Board members denouncing Martell directly for his malicious comments and threats to Newberg staff, and in light of Chair Brown’s public gratitude toward Martell, we can only assume the board majority stands behind his words. 

Brown’s public embrace of Martell’s support is troubling, as are Martell’s more personal attacks on Newberg teachers, counselors, and administrators. It’s time to tell the truth about Carey Martell and the dangerous influence he has over members of our district’s Board of Directors. It’s time for new leadership. 

Elaine Koskela has worked for the Newberg Public Schools for 14.5 years. She is a classified Success Coach at Catalyst* High School. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from George Fox University in Sociology and Social Work.  Elaine is a parent of three Newberg High School graduates, all of whom graduated with honors. Like dozens of other NPS teachers and staff, she is deeply committed to providing the highest quality education to all students. 
 
*Catalyst is an alternative high school model that works to remove barriers to learning. Under its umbrella, it houses an online academy, the “Real World” program (traditional students with a different schedule and smaller class size), and flexible learning (a combination of online learning with traditional high school, Real World, and/or tutoring). One third of the students at Catalyst identify as queer. And a very high percent are dealing with significant Adverse Childhood Experiences. Most importantly, Elain notes “it’s an amazing community that strives to treat everyone with dignity and respect.” 

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7 responses to “Carey Martell Lies About and Threatens Newberg School Employees and Is Publicly Thanked by Board Chair Dave Brown”

  1. I strongly support Catalyst and other positive trends I have observed since I returned to Newberg to retire. I base my views on first hand experience with Catalyst students and staff. I also took the time to talk to teachers and other students. I taught in Newberg for 25 years and both my sons are Newberg graduates.

    Thank you Elaine.. your words are eloquent and true. I pray we can repair the damage that has been done.

  2. Dear Beth: a friend shared your blog with me today and I just wanted to say how great it is to see people speaking up and calling the alt-right four on the school board (and the thugs who support them) to account. I want to believe that most people who support them do so in good faith, but I also hope that the more the true motivations of the board are called out, the more the unsavory behavior they and their more vocal supporters display, the more likely people now backing them will open their eyes and realize that touting “America and ‘freedom’” can mask intentions out of keeping with what we value as a nation.

  3. I admire both of you for your healthy perspectives, your love for kids, your maturity, your ability to communicate, and your tireless work in educating the community on these matters. May your hearts be full of the love so many have for you, your minds full of clarity and wisdom as you go forward, and your spirits filled with peace as you continue to speak the truth.

  4. Thank you Beth for sharing Elaine’s writing. I know Elaine and she is a salt-of-the-earth person who is passionate about equity for our students and works tirelessly to create safe spaces for Newberg students. She is respected by other school staff, students, and families.

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