School board discusses principals and coaching issues
At the recent Emery School District Board of Education meeting came a show of support from the Emery High football team for football Coach Jim Jones. Coach Jones has taken the principal job at Canyon View Junior High and was informed that this season just past was to be his last season coaching football as his duties as principal would keep him too busy to coach.
Kevin Diaz, an assistant coach for the 2008 season spoke to the board. He said he has coached with Ron McBride and places Coach Jones in the same category as McBride. "The kids love Coach Jones. You can see it from the show of support we have tonight. This team needs Coach Jones next year. A change in offense is not good at this point. It will hurt the kids who are going to be seniors. Coach Jones loves football, it wouldn't be right without him. The kids played hard this year and deserve to have Jimmy back. He would only miss some school if any on a Friday of an away game. I have been to schools in California who have principals who are coaches," said Diaz.
Superintendent Kirk Sitterud said everyone recognizes the value of Coach Jones and the job he has done for the football team. "Coach Jones and I had this discussion before he became an administrator. The focus of a principal needs to be on academics. Coach Jones indicated at that time that he understood that. It's true there isn't anyone out there with Coach Jones' experience. Maybe there could be a transition period and he could still assist, but the goal of principals is academics and their focus should be on their school. We are not just trying to say Coach Jones, you're out, but where does it end; if we open the door then where does it end? In 1A schools it is common practice for principals to also coach. But, in 3A there are no high school principals who are coaches. We appreciate your show of support to Coach Jones," said Superintendent Sitterud.
The school board will take the matter into consideration. "Football is the least intrusive sport and has the shortest season," said Superintendent Sitterud.
Board member Marie Guymon thanked Diaz and the football players for their show of support.
In an email received from Superintendent Sitterud he said, "As with many District established administrative practices and Board directives, there is no written Board policy on this matter, nor is there a need for such a written policy. These expectations come from a firm belief that a principal's focus should be on the total school program, and most particularly on student learning, without the distraction that stems from the intensity surrounding athletic competition preparation each week. This required expectation, and the administrative focus and commitment that come with it, are clearly defined for candidates for principal positions before the hiring takes place."
In talking to Coach Jones he said he had no idea the meeting was taking place and the players were going to the meeting. He appreciates the support of the players and the parents. Coach Jones is the principal at Canyon View Junior High which has 180 students. Coach Jones was allowed to finish out the 2008 football season, but told he wouldn't be able to coach any more because he was an administrator now. Coach Jones said, "I told Superintendent Sitterud, I would give up coaching and I can't go back on what I told them I would do. I appreciate the support of the parents and players."