That was the question on the minds of more than a dozen parents who attended last week’s Board of Education meeting. The parents cited the departure of high school math teacher Shannon Burcham for the chance to serve as Madisonville’s head football coach, and speculation that Coby Lewis and Matt Boehman are considering similar moves.
“I feel our educational integrity is at risk,” said Meg Davis, a substitute teacher and self-professed “concerned parent.”
“You have to do what it takes to retain these good teachers — that is your job,” Davis said. “Offer whatever it is that these (other) schools are somehow offering.”
Though confidentiality laws prevented Superintendent Tim McGinnis from speaking at length about some of the teachers named, he did say that the Board of Education doesn’t have the authority to hire teachers — that responsibility falls on site-based councils of the individual schools.
“Site-based councils can be frustrating for a superintendent,” he said.
Board Attorney C.A. Woodall noted that state law explicitly prohibit boards from interfering in the hiring process.
“A lot of this is beyond our control,” McGinnis said, not just because the board doesn’t have the power to hire, but also because teachers often leave to pursue their “professional and career dreams.”
“I regret it, selfishly,” he said, “but I respect it.”
In a phone interview subsequent to the board meeting, McGinnis said coaching is often what brings male teachers into the schools to begin with. As Burcham told The Cadiz Record in February about taking the new position in Madisonville, “It’s an opportunity for me to do something I’ve always wanted to do.”
“It’s a loss folks, I agree with you,” Board Chairman Mike Davis told the parents, but he also said it is hardly a sure thing some of the coaches named as considering moves will actually do so.
As of March 10, McGinnis said no coach — not even Burcham — had submitted letters announcing their departure.
For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.