If I were a betting man I’d wager damn near all I had on how the next Amarillo Independent School District Board of Trustees meeting is going to unfold.
My strong hunch is that a young volleyball coach, Kori Clements, will be Topic A on the minds of a large crowd of spectators gathered in the AISD board meeting room on Tuesday night.
You see, Clements tendered her resignation letter the other day as head volleyball coach at Amarillo High School. She doesn’t have a new job awaiting her. Nor did she break any rules. Nope. Instead, she is leaving one of the plum high school coaching jobs in all of Texas because she was harassed, harangued and hectored by a zealous parent of one of the student-athletes on the team. It’s one season and out for Coach Clements!
Indeed, Amarillo High is one of the premier high school volleyball powers in Texas, winning numerous state titles.
What’s more, there’s a whole lot of chatter apparently bouncing around Amarillo that the parent most certainly should have known better than to interfere with a coach doing her job. I also understand that Coach Clements is getting a whole lot of love from the Amarillo High athletic community.
Kori Clements apparently did her job well. The problem, as Clements said in her letter of resignation, was she wasn’t playing the daughter of the offending parent enough. She had the temerity — and that’s my term, not hers — to play the best athletes on the Amarillo High girls volleyball team.
That fundamental coaching decision didn’t set well with the parent who, through her harassment, sought to interfere with the way the coach was doing her job.
Clements, who graduated from Amarillo High and who played for a legendary girls volleyball coach, the recently retired Jan Barker, has had enough. So she quit.
The AISD board has, shall we say, a “situation” on its hands. It’s going to discuss this “personnel matter” among trustees. The Texas Open Meetings Law stipulates that governing bodies are empowered to discuss these matters in executive — or private — sessions, away from the public’s eyes and ears. The law, though, doesn’t require it. The school district is allowed to waive that executive privilege if it so desires.
I won’t bet all my cash on whether the board will decide to discuss this in the open, providing a remarkable degree of transparency. It is my strong preference that it do so. After all, Coach Clements’ letter of resignation was in itself highly transparent, given the reasons she stated as to why she was leaving this post after just one season.
I don’t live in Amarillo these days. However, as luck would have it, my wife and I are venturing back next week to the city we called home for more than two decades. I intend to take a look and lend an ear to what transpires in the AISD board room Tuesday night.
It might get ugly. And for good reason.