Damian Greene resigning from school board

In a letter, Greene wrote that there are issues he “can no longer support in good conscience.”

After a decade of serving on the South Whidbey School Board, Damian Greene is stepping down from the role in the middle of his third term.

Greene announced during a school board meeting this past Wednesday that he would be resigning effective Jan. 1, 2022.

Greene, who was last elected in 2019, said he has had “many epiphanies” and there have been “challenges” throughout the last year.

“I think it’s a good time to go,” he said. “There’s differences here that we definitely have, of opinion.”

In a letter sent to his fellow board members, Greene wrote that there are issues he “can no longer support in good conscience.”

“It is obvious with the continued decline in our enrollment that our school district education is no longer a place of neutrality, but rather a public forum with a political agenda,” he wrote. “For the first time in non-partisan elections we experienced the endorsements of school board candidates from a political party.”

At least one fellow board member, however, found this section of the resignation letter to be not entirely true.

Brook Willeford, who currently serves as the board’s chairperson, pointed out in an email to the Record that Willeford was endorsed by Island County Democrats in the 2019 election when he ran for school board. Additionally, enrollment in the South Whidbey School District has been declining for the past 20 years.

In his letter, Greene wrote about the continuing trend of parents pulling their students from public education in lieu of other learning opportunities.

“Considering the challenges due to the politicization of our schools, I believe my time, efforts, and knowledge would be more beneficial outside the board,” he said in the letter.

During the recent school board meeting, Willeford said Greene was an invaluable resource to him when he first joined the board in 2019.

“I have always valued particularly your institutional knowledge of the district and the board and how work is done,” Willeford said, “and also your foresight and thoughtful commentary and oversight, on financial issues in particular.”

Superintendent Jo Moccia said she appreciated Greene’s opinions, even when they differed from her own.

“Damian, I’ve always appreciated your leadership on the board and your work for the community,” she said. “It’s truly been a pleasure.”

Greene unsuccessfully ran for Island County commissioner last year as a Republican. He also applied to replace state Sen. Barbara Bailey when she retired as well as Island County Assessor Mary Engle, who left the position to become planning director.