Our decision was not made exclusively on student playing time, unhappy parents, or surveys

To the Editor:

We would like to thank the Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District community for its valuable input regarding our 2002-2012 varsity basketball coach, Andy Wright, and the future of our varsity basketball program.

Please accept our apologies for not properly thanking the community members for their important and impassioned comments on the subject of basketball during our Oct. 21, 2013 meeting. We carefully considered all of the comments and concerns of those who attended, and continue to take community input into consideration on every subject that concerns BKW and its students.

Unfortunately, the Oct. 21 meeting ended with some inappropriate comments that bordered on bullying, setting a poor example for the young people in our community.  That’s the kind of thing we would rather not see repeated if for no other reason than our students deserve better.

Many of the comments at the Oct. 21 meeting and other comments made by community members who contacted us by e-mail and telephone indicated concerns Coach Andy Wright had not been given reasons for not being reappointed for the 2013-14 basketball season.

From the onset, Mr. Wright was informed that he had an opportunity and the right to request an executive session with the school board to discuss those concerns and to receive a thorough explanation of the issues.  Until recently, he chose not to exercise that right but he has since requested a meeting and an executive session was scheduled for Mr. Wright with the board on Oct. 30, 2013.

Contrary to the allegations of some in our community, our decision was not made exclusively on the issue of student playing time, unhappy parents, or surveys. As noted in the memo, Mr. Wright released to the Enterprise last week, BKW’s expectations for its coaches, including Mr. Wright, include, but are not limited to:  

— All coaches must behave in a manner that exemplifies a mature, composed leader.

— Outbursts, and unprofessional displays of anger and frustration will not be tolerated. That includes verbal and physical displays of anger and frustration on and off the court and in the locker room.

— All interactions with parents, students, and community members are to be professional and proactive.

In accordance with the New York Personal Privacy Protection Law, the board has a long-standing practice of not discussing personnel matters in public.  The reappointment of Mr. Wright is no different from countless other personnel issues involving district employees, none of which have been discussed in public.

Mr. Wright has great potential to help our students succeed academically.  We thank him for the countless hours he has invested in our students and our community as a teacher and a coach.  We anticipate Mr. Wright will put his energies and talent here at BKW into maximizing the academic success of the students in his classroom.

The B-K-W Board of Education
And Interim Superintendent Lonnie Palmer

Editor’s note: For past coverage, go online to www.AltamontEnterprise.com.

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