Bedford City School District, is currently conducting a search for the Head Coaching position of the varsity football team. Current coach Paul Staats, who received mixed reviews from players and parents, will be replaced for the upcoming season.
The school board has summarily dismissed the application of a long time BHS educator and asst. coach, Mr. Everett Heard (Coach Heard) and are leaning towards former St. Ed football coach, John Gibbons. While qualified, Gibbons has no ties to the Bedford District.
Whereas Gibbons has no ties to the district, Coach Heard has been in our district in excess of 25 years as a gym teacher, coaches of several sports and was chosen 2006 "Coach of the Year" by the State of Ohio.
Coach Heard has been one of the few coach's who has brought home state titles and consistently produces successful teams. Coach Heard also has the support of three former Bedford players who are now in the NFL.
Some of the more involved parents found out that, once again & as usual, the Bedford School Board Members are trying to keep this decision making process from the public and have included no parent input. Note: This is typical behavior of our board when their agenda or selection may differ from community sentiment.
Personally, I am strongly against anyone being hired (or not hired) because of the color of their skin. I feel merit as an educator, positive interaction and the ability to be a role model to the children should be paramount in the decision making process for selecting anyone to be involved with children.
Because of being a racially changing district, more role models are needed for the African-American boys in our school. But let’s not forget the white kids also – Mr. Heard is a role model for ALL students!
As a former student, I can attest Coach Heard brings all these qualities to the table and more... I cannot express my support enough for Mr. Heard. If not for this man, I would have been kicked out of school a lot more often and a lot sooner. That he would not be the hands down candidate is beyond belief.
In a failing district such as Bedford Schools, we cannot afford the duplicity being served by our school board. While they routinely preach parental involvement, the need of good role models, and the other $2 quotes and excuses typical of educators, our district and students continue to falter.
With contract negotiations for teachers coming up, be ready for the hypocrisy - I can't wait to be told how wonderful our teachers are so they can justify a raise to be paid for on our backs, yet they ignore parental input and pass over one of the best we have!
Let's hope many parents and leaders of this community will wake up and stop allowing the BHS board members to lead them like sheep to slaughter.
In usual Bedford School Board fashion, these covert proceedings will end with a "special meeting" today at 4:00pm.
The following is a letter from an involved parent - (edited for length)
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Via Electronic Mail
Bedford Board of Education Members
Debora J. Kozak, President
Barbara A. Patterson, Vice President (Via Facsimile)
Andrew C. M. Mizsak, M.A.P.
Joseph V. Mestnik
Dear Elected School Board Members:
Surely, it can’t be true that this Thursday, April 5, at 4:00 PM, during a “special” Bedford Board of Education meeting that you are prepared to vote on the next head football coach, at Bedford High School who will directly impact the educational opportunities and future of our beloved Bedford Bearcats; but even more disconcerting is that you allegedly are considering an individual whose experience with students of color is purportedly limited at best.
Why is this happening under the radar?
I was surprised to find out that Coach Staats is even leaving, as I have heard absolutely nothing but raving reviews on his coaching style and his ability to build the “self-esteem” of the current student body attending Bedford High School. And it is my understanding he works diligently at getting Bedford High School students into college for a free education.....
With that said, an individual who has an established track record of caring, student respect, and absolute knowledge of the game has applied for the head football coach position - Coach Everett Heard.
There are former Bedford graduates, both black and white who still speak his name with admiration throughout this community. (My husband, an avid sport enthusiast, thought highly of Coach Heard and would have been quite vocal about this head football coach position.) Why are we even considering anyone from the ‘outside’ when we have homegrown talent among our ranks? (Note from King - Mr. Robinson, was a guidance counselor dearly loved and respected by staff & students. Mr. Robinson was taken from us last year when he suddenly passed away.)
I have done a preliminary investigation about the gentleman who you (elected school board members) are trying to allegedly “hand” the coaching job to at Bedford High School. Former fired football coach John Gibbons “appears” to have issues. The alleged incident that occurred last year in Lakewood while he was the head football coach at St. Edward High School cannot and should not be ignored.
Secondly, is there any truth to this gentleman allegedly being walked off the field or escorted out of the building by the police?
Thirdly, why would we bring someone into ‘our’ school district that allegedly has no real hands-on experience with students of color? This gentleman’s experience in Streetsboro in the mid-1970s certainly didn’t give him that experience, nor did it at Lake Catholic. And the St. Edward’s football team isn’t comprised of predominately people of color either. According to my sources, the young men of color on that team were walking on “egg shells.”
My fourth point…the Bedford City Schools showcases (boasts) their partnership with the National Football League, namely Bedford High School graduates, Lee Evans, Eric Beverly, and Chris Chambers. It is my understanding that these NFL players all telephoned to support Coach Heard for the head football coach position. And their support (phone calls) was totally ignored.
Coach Heard has a proven track record with ALL students. He understands them; they respect him, and he has been part of the sports program for a number of years in this school district.
…it is my understanding that the Bedford High School football players signed a petition requesting Coach Heard as the head football coach. And this petition was totally ignored.
Why??? Don’t student voices matter? Or is it just the voices of the students of color that don't matter?
Parent involvement does truly mean being equal partners in decisions that affect ‘our’ children. There are many educated parents in this school district; and therefore, should be asked to sit at the table for input, representing us, the parents of the children who attend Bedford High School.
We, parents, are not just votes for levies and your reelection to office. We are intelligent and quite capable of adding valuable insight with regard to decisions that affect our children.
This is another no-brainer decision. Place someone in the head football coach position who knows and respects the students and someone who the students know and respect. Doesn’t Coach Heard deserve a chance? And if not, please explain why not.
What it really boils down to, in my opinion, is are we trying to do what is right for the students or are we still trying to perpetuate the status quo or maintain a certain ‘image’ for a different agenda?
The priority is the students and what they need to succeed. As a parent of a future football player at Bedford High School, I am concerned about this ‘allegedly’ pending predetermined selection.
Respectfully, a written response to my concerns is requested from all addressed parties.
Mrs. Michael Robinson (Venezuela)
*** Bedford School Board Member replies will be posted as they come in***
To contact the Bedford Board of Education call (440)439-1500