Farris clarifies basis of Columbia decision
I have purposefully waited until after the public forum of the school board meeting last Tuesday evening to respond regarding my decision on the direction of the football program at George Rogers Clark High School. My letter to Paul Columbia giving him notice of my decision contains no statement regarding his character, and I have made no public statements regarding Mr. Columbia's character.
It is obvious, however, that the community has been led to believe that I question Mr. Columbia's character, and some members of the community even believe that Mr. Columbia is no longer an employee of the Clark County Public Schools.
I wish to set the record straight. I want the football program to go in a new direction while maintaining a holistic focus on the student athlete. Mr. Columbia remains the assistant principal, and in that position he can continue being a positive influence in the lives of all of our students, both academically and socially, without also having duties associated with being a head football coach.
In many school districts, administrators are prohibited from being coaches because of an inherent conflict in filling both of those roles.
My decision to go in a new direction with the football program should in no way be deemed a reflection on my opinion of Mr. Columbia’s integrity or character, nor should it be deemed to diminish or denigrate the many positive effects he has had on the lives of individual student athletes during his 13 seasons as head football coach. I appreciate the feedback I have received from community members regarding my decision on Mr. Columbia’s service as football coach. I hope to see the same level of passion and involvement by the community regarding our academic program.
Elaine Farris, superintendentClark County Public Schools