Written by Corbett Smith
Dallas ISD athletic departments scrambling to comply with certification directive for coaches, who could lose jobs
In a memo sent to campus administrators last August, DISD Superintendent Mike Miles wrote that his expectation was that “all extracurricular teachers and coaches will have certification” by the end of the school year.
The news sent noncertified and nondegreed coaches scrambling — some for other jobs, others into certification programs that can take as long as 18 months.
What Miles is asking for isn’t uncommon; most districts throughout the area use only certified teachers on their coaching staffs. But the timeline — which has been extended to the end of the 2013-14 school year — has some campus athletic coordinators concerned.
The changes — which they, in large measure, support — might be coming too quickly, with those in alternative certification programs needing to find classroom roles by August in order to get fully certified. Some high schools, such as Roosevelt and Spruce, might be forced to make wholesale changes to coaching and teaching staffs. And athletic department workers say communication from district leaders has been lacking.
“I think it’s going to be an immense challenge,” said Troy Mathieu, former DISD athletic director and current Grand Prairie AD. “Something like that, that’s ingrained in the culture, it’s going to be hard to change, and hard to make it work quickly.”
University Interscholastic League rules don’t require high school coaches to hold teaching certificates. Paraprofessionals, security guards, hall monitors and maintenance workers can be coaches — if their districts allow.
A little over a tenth of DISD’s 500 high school coaches fall in that category. Most are assistant coaches, but there are a few head coaches in high-profile sports who would be affected, including successful Kimball High School boys basketball coach Snoop Johnson.
Under Miles’ new policy, those coaches would have to get their teacher certification through the Texas Education Agency by summer 2014 or be removed from their coaching roles.