Letter to Coaches from Superintendent Re: Shared Mission/Vision

Manchester-Shortsville Central School District

 “Red Jacket Schools”

Charlene Dehn, Superintendent               E-mail: charlene.dehn@redjacket.org

 Dear Coaches and Volunteers:

On opening day for staff on September 2, 2013 we rolled out our District’s mission, shared vision, core beliefs and values for the Manchester-Shortsville Central School District.  When I began in the role of Superintendent last January, I began the process of developing a shared vision by soliciting input from folks across the District, including our Athletic Director, food service folks, our transportation department, teachers, support staff, buildings and grounds staff, and administration.  As a result of this collaborative effort, you will see on the attached document our District’s mission, vision, core beliefs, and values.  Even as a coach or volunteer for our District, our mission, vision, core beliefs, and values are the guiding principles by which to lead. 

You represent our District in the public eye.  You are a leader, a role model, and a partner in educating and influencing our athletes, parents, and spectators.   In your role, your behavior, decisions, responses, and interactions are under a microscope because what you do or say sets the tone for the reactions and behaviors of others.  This is a serious and challenging responsibility, particularly with sports when emotions can run very high. 

As you probably already know from coaching, as well as from life’s experiences, decisions should not be made based on making individuals happy.  You will earn the respect of others when they see that you have self control, are respectful, fair, consistent, supportive, passionate, inspiring, ethical, professional, knowledgeable, and that you hold yourself as accountable as you hold others – you walk the talk.  I understand the pressure a coach can face from parents demanding more playing time for their child, spectators expressing displeasure from a coaching decision that was made or a call made by an official that was not in our team’s best interest, or dealing with a complicated issue with or between student athletes or parents, or when the results are just not where everyone wants them to be.  I played sports, I have coached, and I understand.

Our goal at Red Jacket is to build strong teams by teaching our athletes how to work together, to effectively communicate, be prideful, and most importantly to me, be known for outstanding sportsmanship.  This can be more effectively accomplished if we are all working together for a common purpose by supporting one another, holding ourselves to high standards, and communicating shared expectations to our athletes, parents, and spectators.  As a coach, you are responsible for communicating the Athletic Handbook to our athletes and their parents, for holding athletes accountable to excellence in sportsmanship, fulfilling the requirements and expectations within the Handbook, ensuring safety is a priority, and for seeking out the Athletic Director when questions or concerns arise.  Coaching positions are annual appointments and you are responsible for following the school district’s expectations for conduct and treatment of athletes and others, for following our rules, protocols, and procedures while you are a coach for the District. 

Please be cognizant that public schools have very specific purchasing and accounting procedures you may not be aware of as a coach.  Please err on the side of caution and ask the Athletic Director if you find your team does not have enough equipment, uniforms, etc.  The school district is responsible for these types of purchases and for ensuring they are necessary, purchases are equitable and encumbered by following our required purchasing procedures.  You may also be surprised to know that even accepting donations requires Board of Education action to accept the donation.  It is unlawful for a coach to collect money from the public to make purchases for any school team.  Our school undergoes very stringent auditing procedures that hold us accountable for following school law and SED requirements for all public schools.  I will not make decisions based on what may have been done in the past and it matters not to me what other schools choose to do; Red Jacket is obligated to and will uphold proper accounting and purchasing procedures.             

Coaching certainly has become much more complicated and challenging over time and, unfortunately, the most difficult aspect doesn’t really have to do with coaching at all.  It is all the other “stuff” that tends to become a distraction and can get in the way if we let it.  I want you to know that I understand how difficult your job is and I appreciate all you do.  Please try to keep your eye on the goal instead of all the other issues and remember why we are here – to educate and to make positive, life-long memorable experiences for our student athletes.  After all, have you ever forgotten any of your coaches from when you were in school?  I would venture to guess you remember their coaching style, their words of wisdom, or other things they did or said.  What do you want your legacy to be when Red Jacket athletes look back on you as their coach? 

Thank you for your service and commitment to our student athletes, our school, and our community.  Have a great season; always remember to keep your eye on the goals and remember to walk the talk.   

Sincerely,

Charlene Dehn

Superintendent of Schools

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