AISD trustees need to face some community anger

A part of me wishes I could write the script for the upcoming election of the Amarillo Independent School District board of trustees.

If I could dictate how this election should be determined, it would have to be on the issue of school board and administrative support of educators who work directly with the children who attend the city’s public school system.

You know where I’m coming from, of course. My issue is predicated solely on the shameful exhibition of cowardice exhibited by the school board when a highly regarded girls volleyball coach resigned after one season at Amarillo High School, which has developed one of Texas’s most vaunted girls volleyball programs.

Kori Clements turned in her resignation letter that blasted administrators and board members for failing to support her in the face of a parent’s gripes over the way the coach was parceling out playing time for her daughter.

The school board remained silent. Administrators did, too. The coach resigned. Members of the community stood up for her; so did several members of the Sandies volleyball team.

The worst part of this story is that the offending parent — who hectored the coach and allegedly made an unannounced visit to the coach’s home to hassle her over playing time — is a member of the board of trustees.

The board accepted her resignation without comment.

So, AISD’s constituents — those who pay the bills with their property taxes — are left to still wonder: What gives with the school board?

Three seats are up for election in May. Two of the incumbents are running for re-election: Jim Austin and John Betancourt; a third one, Scott Flow, did not file for re-election.

I want all the school board candidates to answer the question directly: How do you guarantee that educators have the support of the administration and the board that they deserve?

Hey, I don’t live there any longer. I remain deeply interested in this story and hope it plays out eventually the way it should.

One thought on “AISD trustees need to face some community anger”

  1. How do you guarantee that educators have the support of the administration and the board that they deserve?

    My name is Aaron Ladd and I am a candidate for the Amarillo ISD Board of Trustees and this very question and the post that preceded it is a big part of why I’m running.

    How can you expect to hold anyone accountable for anything when there’s absolutely no way to hold board members accountable for their negative actions?

    Lack of support for our teachers was finally brought into the light with the events that led to the departure of Dana West as Superintendent. Like many, I had hoped the change at that position would set AISD back on the right path.

    Then the resignation of Coach Clements happened. As details trickled in, it became clear that our hope was misplaced and the problem is also with the Board of Trustees.

    I don’t know if there is a code of conduct that board members agree to. If there is, it either does not cover abuse of power or is merely lip-service.

    I would happily support a robust code of conduct that board members are expected to agree to.

    Otherwise, the best way to hold board members accountable for their lack of support for our educators is at the ballot box.

    I feel that I am qualified to pledge support for our educators in a way that goes beyond the flowery language of a campaign. My wife is a teacher with AISD. My wife and her colleagues deserve unwavering support from the board and administrators. My two sons are elementary students in AISD. Their current and future teachers deserve unwavering support from the board and administrators. I was an athlete in high school and I ultimately earned a full scholarship to play football at UCLA. I transferred to SMU where I continued to play football and graduated in 2001. If my abilities were placed on the sidelines because a teammate had politically connected parents, my athletic and academic career certainly would have been different.

    AISD needs a change in culture and that change must start at the top with the Board of Trustees.

    Please consider making our first steps for change this election. My name is Aaron Ladd and I’m running for a seat on the Amarillo ISD Board of Trustees.

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