Governing Board reassigns 2013 CIF AD of the Year over credentialing issue

By Doug Keeler

Midway Driller Editor

A year ago Marsha Eubank was named CIF Central Section Athletic Director of the Year.

Now she is out as athletic director at Taft Union High School.
The TUHS Governing Board voted 3-0 Friday afternoon at a special meeting to have Eubanks reassigned at the end of the current school year because she doesn't have an administrative credential.

She was not happy with being reassigned and very unhappy with the way it was handled.
Eubank has been athletic director at TUHS for 10 years and has worked at the school for 24 years.
She said she was notified on Monday of the plan to have her removed from the AD position.

She was never told she needed an administrative credential and said she was never offered the chance to keep the position while she obtained one.

“That was never offered,” she said

She said she hasn't made any decision on her future and whether she will stay at TUHS as a teacher.

Board members Ken Anderson, Tom White and Board President Rick Twisselman voted to “release” Eubank from the AD job.

Board members Stan Barrett and George Harmer were absent.

Twisselman quoted the California Education Code stating that certificated employees must be notified by March 15 of any change in their employment status.

The resolution adopted by the board said: “It is in the district's best interest to release (Eubank) at the end of the 2013-2014 school year and reassign her to a classroom position.”

The vote was taken and meeting adjourned with no further comment.

The board met for about 50 minutes in closed session after 10 minutes of open session at the start of the meting in which several people spoke strongly in favor of retaining Eubank as AD.

Wendy Berry, an instructor at Taft College and a former TUHS student and faculty member, was critical of the board even before it voted.

“I look at you core values,” Barry said, referring to posters on the wall in the boardroom. “Integrity and transparency – neither one is demonstrated here at all. “She finds out Monday she wasn't qualified for the position (and) she was even given the opportunity (to get the administrative credential.”

Julie Ortleib described herself as a concerned parent who came to speak in support of Eubank.

“First it was Sprague, now its Marsha. These people put their heart and soul into our children,” Ortleib said, referring to the controversial ouster of head football coach Steve Sprague two years ago.

“You'r going to let these people go so you can hire somebody from outside – presumably,” she said. “I feel its kind of cowardly to have a meeting at 2 p.m. in the afternoon when people are still at work.”

Athletic Department secretary Charlotte Frankes, too praised Eubank for her dedication to the job.

“She gives her all,” Frakes said.

Les Clark III has dealt with the high school and Eubank in particular in his job as a recreation supervisor and as a coach in Little League and other programs.

He spoke as a private citizen.

He said Eubank was part of a team of people at TUHS that worked well together and with him and the community.

“From a professional standpoint Marsha is a wonderful person to wrk with,” Clark said. “I support the entire organization and she is a big part of it.”

A few minutes after the board went into closed session, Eubank was asked to come in a meet with them.

She refused.

She stayed outside with her supporters until the meeting reconvened just after 3 p.m.

Eubank said she was surprised to see the people come to suport her.

“I had no knowledge these people were going to be here and a greatly appreciate the support,” she said.

While outside, she read from a prepared statement.

“This is the decision the TUHS Board of Trustees and the superintendent have made,” she said, her voice cracking with emotion at times. “This is the decision the TUHS Board of Trustees and the Superintendent have made.

“For me I have always been a TUHS employee with wildcat pride. After 24 years, I believe my name at TUHS, the community of Taft in which I live, the South Sequoia League,  the California Interscholastic Federation and at the CIF state level speaks for itself.”

Eubank coached the Wildcat girls basketball team to three CIF Central Section Championships before becoming athletic director in 2004.

Under Eubanks, TUHS won its first outright Valley championship in football in 70 years and had a string of successes on the field and in the classroom with four academic team titles.

She has served on the CIF Board of Managers representing the South Sequoia League, was a CIF State Basketball representative. In 2007, the 2010 California Coach’s Association Girls Athletic Director of the Year and the 2013 The California Athletic Director’s Association Athletic Director of the Year for the Central Section.

She also has an endorsement from one of her peers.

Shafter High AD Doug Thompson, the SSL representative sent an email of support.

A copy was obtained by the Taft Midway Driller.

“Taft Union High School is most fortunate to have Marsha Eubank as (its) athletic director,” Thompson wrote. “ She represents the community of Taft and Taft Union High school in the most professional

fashion possible. I do not know what the most recent concerns are regarding Marsha. I do know there are a lot of us that would like to be as organized as as well-prepared as she is with her duties.”