By Matt Clevenger
For the Miami Valley Today
CASSTOWN — The Miami East Local School District Board of Education has approved Kevin Evans as the district’s high school girls’ basketball coach for the 2022-2023 school year.
Evans was selected for the head coach position by school administration, and his hiring was formally approved by the Board of Education during their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 10. Approximately 35 parents, students and community members attended the meeting, with some speaking in favor of Evans and some supporting other candidates who applied for the position.
“I believe that Kevin Evans is the best fit for the head girls basketball coach,” parent Kenny Kirby told board members. “Coach Evans has done nothing but better this program; he has also encouraged our girls to be their best selves.”
Parent Amanda Gross spoke against the decision to hire Evans. “This is nothing personal against Mr. Evans,” Gross said. “I don’t see how one is picked over the other, and that is my personal opinion.”
“I feel that Preston, who was the other person, with his record, with his job performance, with him being in the community with the kids; I feel that he is the eye of the girls’ basketball program, from k-12,” Gross said.
“This is a huge opportunity; these coaching positions don’t come open every year,” parent Jacob Barnes said. “I just feel personally that Preston is the perfect fit.”
“There’s a lot of emotion flying tonight,” Rusty Snodgrass said. “My concern is that we honor the process, and how things are supposed to run as far as hiring a new coach.”
“It’s not up to us,” Snodgrass said. “I urge you to consider that letting a group make the decision for you is setting kind of a scary precedent, as far as letting parents who believe they are making the best decisions for their kids make a decision for you all, versus letting your staff do their job.”
Board members voted 3-2 to confirm Evans selection as coach. Board members Mark Lawson, Mark Iiames and John Demmitt voted for Evans’ hiring; Pam Rice and Amanda Howell voted against hiring Evans.
“It’s not a decision that we take lightly,” Mark Lawson said. “They were both qualified, and there was no way I could vote no for either one of them.”
“There’s been a lot of unrest, and we’ve all heard alot the last few weeks,” Amanda Howell said. “Many have strong allegiances one way or the other.”
“As a board member, I know we need to button-up some policies, as well as procedures,” Howell said. “There will be some changes to the athletic policy going forward.”
“We are a Board of Education, and we are here to educate our children first,” board president Mark Iiames said. “Athletics is a part of it; it’s a benefit that we all get to have, but we are here to educate our children.”
“If I can entrust the leadership of our district to provide educators for our children, then I see no reason why I can’t support their decisions for coaching positions as well,” Iiames said. “It’s not soley up to me to decide whether someone is a qualified basketball coach or not.”
In other business, board members also formally approved 104 seniors in the Class of 2022 for graduation. Board members also approved early release days for seniors on May 24, 25 and 26.
Board members went on to approve the renewal of the district’s random drug testing policy, and the creation of a new extra-curricular transportation fee.
High school and middle school students participating in extra-curricular activities will pay a $55 transportation fee per activity. Individual students will be capped $110 and a family cap will be $220 for the 2022-2023 school year. Choir and Muse Machine members will be subject to a $25 fee.
Board members also congratulated the district’s music department. “We’d like to wish congratulations to the Miami East High School Band,” Superintendent Dr. Todd Rappold said. “This marks the ninth consecutive year that our high school concert band has reached the state competition. Our high school choir performed that same evening, and earned superior ratings.”
“This past Friday, our junior high choir performed in Troy, and they also received a superior rating,” Rappold said. “Congratulations to our music department.”
Board members also announced several upcoming year-end activities. The MEHS Community Outreach Program will be held on May 12 and the Senior Walk will be held May 23. Eighth grade graduation ceremonies will be held on May 26, and the MEHS graduation will be held on May 27. Kindergarten graduation will also be held on May 27.
Board members adjourned their meeting to an executive session; the next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting will be held on Monday, June 20 at 7 p.m.