Athletic Director and Dean of Students Greg Mulkey returned to campus in May following a suspension pending dismissal by Superintendent Dawn Granger. The Coos Bay School Board of Directors overturned Granger’s dismissal of Mulkey in a 6-1 decision in a closed executive session on April 29.
Mulkey was allowed to return to work on May 8, just in time to take his traditional position as the starter at home track events for the historic 107th annual Coos County Track Meet that night. He said it was a good way to mark his return to MHS.
“I’m very proud of both our community and our school,” Mulkey said. “It’s a privilege to be a part of the history.”
Mulkey’s absence while on leave coincided with noticeable tension throughout the district and community, including crowded school board meetings and student reaction. “Operation White Buffalo,” a student-led walk-out and protest of the districts’ decisions showcased support for Mulkey, which he said he appreciated.
“Someone forwarded me a video of the ‘Operation White Buffalo’ and I began to tear up,” Mulkey said. “Seeing the support from the community and my colleagues was probably one of the most emotional state I’ve ever been.” The support was overwhelming.
The reason behind Mulkey’s suspension has not been disclosed.
To keep order while Mulkey was gone, Assistant Principal Brian Trendell had to take over the duties of athletic director. Spanish instructor Floyd Montiel was forced to take over the position of dean of students along with Kayla Crook.
“I had to fill in for four days as the dean,” Montiel Said. “It gave me a first person feel of it, and it’s a big job to do for one guy. I think a school this size definitely needs a full time dean.”
According to Montiel, the move was detrimental for students, as substitute teachers filled in for Montiel and Crook in their absence.
“There are a lot of capable substitutes, but I think it’s a disadvantage when you lose the flow of your classroom,” Montiel said.
Others said Mulkey’s absence was beneficial.
“I feel that everything was going pretty good without him,” senior Michael Coburn said. “Personally, I really agree that Greg Mulkey should be out because he is selfish and incapable. I think that the school would be way better off without him and it was way better without him.”
According to Montiel, the absence affected the entire school.
“It did send a ripple through the school. Whether the kids cared or not, they still felt the impact, Montiel said.
Looking forward, Mulkey said there are many things left to be improved. He plans to smooth out his position as dean as well as continue to improve athletics.
“It is very important to try to heal and fix the things that have happened this spring,” Mulkey said.
Mulkey said being back at Marshfield feels right.
“Besides my personal family this community and this school is my family,” Mulkey said. “It is home and it has always felt like home.”
*photo credit to The World