Brentwood Residents Challenge Coach Hiring Process

They didn't like the selection or the procedure.

The process the Brentwood Board of Education used to was questioned during a meeting on Tuesday night.

Former school board member , whose wife Katrina Harper serves on the board, said the district failed with how it selected Herring to fill the coaching vacancy. Anthony Harper currently serves as First Ward Alderman.

He was upset with the school district's use of a hiring committee, which the district forms whenever it hires a new teacher or coach. Staff, parents and students are often appointed to the committee to function in an advisory role to district administrators. Committee members sign non-disclosure agreements before offering feedback to administrators about different candidates. Harper was on the most recent committee.

He said the school board didn't value the committee's time or feedback.

"It's your employee. You don't need to waste 14 people's time sitting in a committee when, really, our opinions don't matter," he said. "Whether or not they should? That's up to you guys to decide, but all it led to was hurt feelings, a process that I don't think was followed, and concerns about what came up in the committee process."

Harper requested copies of school board e-mails—which are generally public record—using a Missouri Sunshine Law request because he wanted to see if he was lied to during the process, he said. After addressing the board for several minutes, Harper placed a $72 check in front of Superintendent Dr. Charles Penberthy to cover staff time and copying costs.

Two other residents spoke about the process, including school board candidate , who was unhappy with the district's selection. He pointed to assistant coach Jeff Manestar as someone he would have preferred.

"You've got a guy who's given 25 years of his life to the residents of Brentwood, coaching football in the junior football program, then another 10 years at the varsity level," Williams said. "I don't think it was a fair decision and I don't think you represented our best interests."

Board members debated the role of the hiring committee later in the meeting. Regina Gahr said forming a committee for each hire is important because committee members are able to keep the hiring administrator impartial. Joseph Hembree and Keith Rabenberg both said they liked the committee too.

Katrina Harper asked if the committee was necessary.

“I don’t know if it really benefits us,” she said.

She also said a 14-person committee, which was the size of the last one, is too large. "That is so unmanageable. I just dont know that that’s fair to any of them.”

Penberthy said committee feedback adds another element for administrators to consider before hiring someone. Even if all committee members don't see their favorite candidate hired, he said their feedback is valuable because they bring up concerns and questions that administrators might miss.

BHS student March 16, 2011 at 04:19 PM
Thanks for the feedback. Next time hopefully there is no commitee so nobodies time would be wasted. Harper voiced that the commitee had no purpose so hopefully the board takes this into consideration for futur hirings.
Ryan March 16, 2011 at 07:26 PM
We don't have bigger things to worry about in Brentwood right now? How about the deteriorating road conditions on Brentwood Blvd. There are potholes starting to form everywhere from the increase in road traffic since we began commercializing even more.
Pam Griesemer March 17, 2011 at 12:54 AM
I couldn't agree more about making our community something to be proud of, repairing our roadways, perhaps asking people to remove piles of junk in their front yards etc...however the issue discussed above is also very important. I am thankful that we had an opportunity to voice issues and concerns last night.
J. Armstrong March 18, 2011 at 10:32 PM
What?!!! Ryan S, do you have children in the Brentwood School District? Do you have any children at all? Are you actually implying that the potholes on the street are more important then the educational experience of our children? You have got to be kidding me!!!!! Pam G, I agree with you. This is an important issue and it's nice to have opportunities to voice our opinions. In my opinion people that do not see how important the hiring process of staff for our schools is are total idiots! These kids are the future. I am proud of Brentwood and our community. I love calling this my home....the fact that Ryan is more concerned over his precious car then the children of our community's educational system shows just how diverse we are. Hey Ryan, when was the last time you took part in a Beautify Brentwood Day? I'll make a deal with you, you give me a list of holes you need plugged, I will fix them for you myself. In return, all I want is for you to educate yourself on the issue at hand in the hiring process. If you can honestly say that the potholes were still more important, then I will help you move to Maplewood.
Ryan March 19, 2011 at 06:04 PM
J Armstrong, I don't have to have kids to understand the value of the system seeing that I just graduated from the high school 4 years ago and know what it was about. We lost teachers that were valuable in my opinion for budget constraints that I thought were total bull. Don't you think it is a little hypocritical to be calling me out on the roadways when in fact that the selection of a high school football coach has nothing to do with the educational aspect of the students. It is a recreational addition to the school to give students something to do and maybe pursue a "way of life" if they go the collegiate level. I played two sports when I went to Brentwood and am fully aware of the awesome of it and the "crap" of it. The hiring of a coach in no situation should play prescient over the hiring of an actual "teacher", it seems that you are having trouble making up your mind with what you want more. Considering I was a landscaper in the past for many years I'm fully aware of the Beautify Brentwood Day and if I wasn't fully involved with my job and other aspects of actually living I'd probably participate more. When the roads here are becoming more volatile than the roads in Warrensburg (where I went to college) I see that as an issue. I'm not saying potholes are the only issue but there are MUCH greater issues over the hiring of a coach, see what I said there, A COACH. This has nothing to do with an actual teacher or educational material.
J. Armstrong March 19, 2011 at 08:52 PM
Hi Ryan S. Please let me know where I confused you, and maybe I can clairy. The Football Coach IS NOT the issue, I can't be any clearer about that (but keep in mind, he was hired as a Teacher, as well as the Football Coach and no I am not happy about their choice). The point of contention for me is the hiring "process". The fact that the Superintendent, the AD, and some members of the School Board seem to do whatever they want. They want it to appear as if citizen input is important, but they do not answer to anyone. Look at the Sup's salary. How much did they spend on his private bathroom? I am a big Eagles fan, I love going to all kinds of games to watch the student athletes, but this is not about sports. This is about taking back out district. My concern is that the residents are not being heard. I do not want to lose anymore great teachers (current or potential) because the powers that be owe someone a favor. If you are so concerned with the "physical" conditions of Brentwood, then perhaps that SHOULD be an aspect of your ife that you participate in. When you say you were a landscaper in the past for many years, that made me laugh. You graduated from High School 4 years ago. There are some that would say you haven't even been living for "many years" yet.....just how long were you a landscaper?
Ryan March 20, 2011 at 05:26 AM
The comment still remains unchanged by me, this decision has nothing to do with the education aspect of the school. I realize that you are talking about the process and that is fine but you bringing up was about just as relevant as me talking about potholes. So in essence you aren't being any more "right" than I am right now. You act like corruption is something new to you when it comes to school. Public school systems have always been political and Brentwood is very political on NUMEROUS levels, not just a selection process. Is it right? no, but nothing is going to change unless someone else is in charge (which is a whole different argument for another time). You have an opinion, which is great. It doesn't make mine any more less valid than yours. So perhaps you should try not coming off as a self-righteous douche (see the reply where you called someone a jack off) and people make take actually take your "calls for action" on the school board with a little more thought. I have nothing to do with laying asphalt/concrete and I have no desire, I have "wants" just like you do (see change of school board members). Is this the part where I tell you to run for school board superintendent? I have been doing landscaping since I was in 8th grade. More serious throughout high school and college, and for your information I've done various projects in Ladue for a few lanes. Is that enough information for your prying and arrogant mind?


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