Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - Soccer is coming to Sallisaw Public Schools.
At their monthly meeting Monday, members of the Board of Education wholeheartedly approved adding the sport to its extracurricular activity offerings, starting with high school boys and girls teams taking the field as early as Spring 2022.
The move would make Sallisaw the first school in Sequoyah County to field a soccer team, Superintendent Randy Wood said Tuesday. He noted that Sallisaw Youth League Soccer officials and supporters “have done a fantastic job” of bringing the idea to fruition.
At Monday's meeting, Wood said he had been weighing the pros and cons of having a soccer program at Sallisaw schools and had found very few cons.
Some of those negatives, he said, include high startup costs, such as uniforms and equipment, but his biggest concern is the lack of a playing field. Board members offered suggestions to mitigate those issues, including seeking donations or grants for equipment and perhaps using the football field as a practice venue.
Jaime Bauer, a Sallisaw Youth League coach who spoke in support of a school soccer program at the meeting, volunteered to coach the school team, as did Andrew Miller, Wood said.
Bauer said she wants to see Sallisaw grow and believes soccer is the way to do it. “This is not just a growth opportunity and a money-making opportunity. This will provide another outlet for kids who don't fall into traditional (team) sport categories,” she said.
Wood said he was all for that idea. “I believe in involving as many kids as we can. I see no reason not to give it a shot.”
Jennifer Taylor, director of Sallisaw Youth League Soccer since 2016, said Tuesday that she is thrilled by the board's decision. “It's been a long time coming and it's well-deserved.”
“These kids have been working really hard. We basically have a team to hand to them (Sallisaw schools). They're ready to get out there,” Taylor said.
She said “a lot of people have had their hand in” getting the school soccer program started. “I'm excited to see where it goes and see how it grows.”
Taylor said the Sallisaw Youth League is the only one of its kind in Sequoyah County. It has an average of 200 players (ages 3-18) each season.
Wood said that after much consideration, he was left with one question: “Why not?”
In other business, the school board accepted the resignations of high school baseball coach Darren Briggs, middle school geography teacher Jason Henry, high school special education teacher Carol Patterson, high school library media specialist Kim Harrison and high school English teacher Christopher Larcade.
After a lengthy executive session, the board also voted to hire the following school staff on temporary contracts for the 2021-2022 school year:
*High school FFA teacher/adviser Steve Matthews
*High school physical science teacher Bronson Barnes
*High school special education teacher Emma Barnes
*High school wrestling assistant/middle school wrestling coach John Sanders
*Kindergarten teacher Jennifer Jones
*Kindergarten teacher Larissa Tillery
*First-grade teacher Ryan Preston
*Fourth-grade teacher Mandy Savage
*Fifth-grade teacher Skylar Thomas
*Kindergarten assistant Kylie Irving
*Kindergarten assistant Misty Hardwick
*Preschool assistant Candy Rae
*Liberty custodian Bradley Breeden
The board also discussed the employment of teachers on temporary contracts for the 2021-22 school year, along with athletic extra-duty assignments for the 2021-22 school year.
Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer
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