BELLEFONTE — At the Bellefonte School District school board meeting, parents raised concerns about the newly resigned head coach, as well as other staffing issues.
The resignation of head coach Vaughn DonMoyer was on the agenda for the postponed meeting – originally scheduled for November 15. Parents have criticized DonMoyer and his staff for a number of reasons throughout his time with the football program, including practices, play and his involvement in the community.
Other concerns were expressed during the public comment section of the meeting.
Steve Austin, the father of a 9th grader at Bellefonte High School, raised two concerns.
He was mostly talking about athletics, reading statistics from the Harvard School of Medicine. He said that according to the study, high school sports can provide a sense of family for students with difficult home lives and that some families depend on high school sports for college opportunities.
“We need a year-round coach, not someone who coaches part-time. We need someone who has been thoroughly vetted and has a successful history,” Austin continued.
Austin also brought up language classes in high school.
“I don’t know if you are aware, but my 9th grade son is learning French with Google Translate. The current substitute teacher for French does not know French and became permanent this semester. Education – Arts and humanity – is of the utmost importance”, said Austin.
Sean Rarrick provided a list of changes he would like to see implemented regarding the football program and the hiring process:
— He feels like they need to move quickly to hire a new coach so the student-athletes aren’t left behind.
— He requested a more in-depth interview process with a committee.
— The candidate must know what to watch for and be able to teach it to students.
— The trainer doesn’t have to be a Bellefonte teacher.
— Choose the candidate who is the best, not the easiest.
Jodi Williams asked the board to oversee the hiring process for the new head coach of the football program. She mentioned that it was discussed at a meeting of football parents that there should be a search committee created.
“The committee should be made up of representatives from the administration, the football booster club (who work directly and very closely with the coaches), former football players and a community representative who is invested and will support the program and the children,” said Williams. “I’ve spoken directly to a few people within the community, so there’s interest in this happening.”
She also said that the current athletic director did not meet many of the criteria she had researched on a successful high school athletic director. One of the first things that came out was understanding with empathy and building meaningful relationships.
“When there are a lot of student-athletes in different athletic programs saying, ‘why does she hate Bellefonte athletics so much?’ and ‘She doesn’t care if we’re destroyed’, there are definite disconnects and a lack of any sort of relationship, let alone a meaningful relationship,” Williams continued.
According to Williams, there was also no presence in the surrounding area – nothing has been done in the community for the past few years.
“Don’t take everything personally” was another key aspect of the success Williams said the current manager had failed.
“There are other parents I have personally spoken with from other athletic programs in the district who refuse to speak out against the actions of the current athletic director for fear of retaliation, resentment or these parents simply want to avoid any difficulty in working with this the person,” said Williams.
Later in the meeting, Superintendent Tammie Burnaford explained the district’s hiring process to those involved:
“Since I’ve been here, we’ve hired extracurricular athletic and college positions by committee. (It has) always consisted of a building administration, maybe a central office administration, maybe a department manager… Referrals are made, clearances have to be made. There is a lot of paperwork to do. »
“There’s a lot of activity happening. It’s not just a one-person decision. It’s a committee. The board has the final say in all of this. That’s how we got all the positions I’ve been here for,” said Burnaford.
“The positions are advertised as soon as we have the resignation”, Burnaford sued. “We have a lot of positions that we don’t have applications for – janitors are a good example right now, or cafeteria workers. I think we are still short of six or seven cafeteria staff. We have no applications.