Players, fans attend school board meeting in support of coach

CNJ correspondent: Martha Hardwick Clovis Wildcat fans in support of Varsity Basketball Coach J.D. Isler signed in for the Clovis School Board Meeting on Tuesday night at Lockwood Elementary School.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Forty-one Wildcat basketball fans and players showed up en mass Tuesday for a Clovis Municipal Schools board of education meeting but got no hearing from the body.

A spokesman for the group said they were there to support varsity basketball coach J.D. Isler, fired by the district but later reinstated after obtaining a temporary restraining order.

The group couldn’t address the board because Wildcat Booster Club President Jack Snipes said they didn’t make the deadline for requesting to be placed on the agenda for the work session meeting at Lockwood Elementary School.

The deadline is six working days before any board meeting.

The group handed the board e-mails from parents concerned over how the district handled the Isler situation.

“We weren’t on the agenda, we knew that, we didn’t come here to talk. We just don’t want our program split in two mid-season,” Snipes said.

Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said she and the board always appreciate public attendance at meetings. However, open forum— where the public can communicate with the board — is usually held at the regular board meeting held at Central Office.

Isler is accused of recruiting players and was suspended by the New Mexico Activities Association in mid-December. The school notified Isler he would be fired in January.

District Judge Teddy Hartley issued the temporary restraining order Dec. 18 against Clovis schools and the NMAA.

Snipes said the group coordinated to attend the meeting because it was the only Tuesday night the team didn’t have a game.

Snipes said he has tried to contact district administration and personnel with the NMAA to get answers. So far, all he’s gotten is a firm “no comment” because the issue is an ongoing court issue.

“This is all we can do. We can voice our opinions but we won’t get any answers,” Snipes said.

Freshman John Dawson said dealing with the situation his first year has been shocking.

“We came so they see that everybody cares about the decision they’re about to make,” Dawson said.

Senior Landyn Snipes said the message he wants to send to the board is simple.

“We’re here for our coach and we will do whatever it takes for him to stay,” he said.

During the meeting at Lockwood Elementary, the board:

• Heard Lockwood Principal Adan Estrada discuss the school’s Adequate Yearly Progress scores, dual-language program, and the need for repair through out the building.

Deputy Superintendent of Operations Joel Shirley said the district has plans to gut the building and pour $10 million into it with the help of the Public School Facilities Authority.

• Convened into executive session pertaining to threatened or pending litigation for the discussion of limited personnel matters.

Seidenwurm said she could not comment on what the board discussed in executive session.