By Phil Jensen
Monday, May 19th, 2014 at 4:41 pm in Uncategorized.
Dear Members of the SRVHS Community,
My name is Frank Borghi, and I am writing in regard to the SRVHS Men’s VarsityBasketball coaching position. I have been a resident of San Ramon for over eight years, a teacher for the past ten years, and a varsity basketball coach for three. In that time, I have always tried to predicate my actions based on what is best for students. I will continue to follow that principle now and for the duration of my career.
On May 9th, after three interviews with Ruth Steele, Adam Gelb, and John Raynor, I was offered the position of varsity coach, and I graciously accepted the job. The school staff was tasked with one objective – to hire, in their professional opinion, the best candidate. As you might agree, no person was more qualified to help make that decision than John Raynor, who has given 27 years of service towards creating and cultivating the current basketball program. Based on his experience with kids and more specifically basketball, he made a decision that would give current, as well as future players, the best possible experience as a member of the basketball program at SRVHS. The hiring panel made a unanimous decision based on the best interest of students.
A meeting took place on Tuesday, May 13th, consisting of parents and students concerned about the school’s hiring decision. During this forum, words like “loyalty” and “tradition” were used frequently. Since I was not a part of the conversation, please allow me a moment to speak to these words. It became clear to me through this meeting that when a teacher/coach like John Raynor could be shouted down as a “traitor” and acting “disloyal”, and that without the support of the students, players, parents and boosters that I would not be given a chance to succeed. It was in that moment, when that line was crossed, that I felt it was in the best interest of SRVHS that I withdraw my candidacy. I would like to think that a man that has devoted his life towards teaching/coaching your sons and daughters, having sacrificed for this community for decades, and having led this program to unprecedented success that he would be granted some modicum of trust. This clearly was not the case. Wouldn’t “loyalty” demand that an individual who has devoted his life towards educating and coaching your sons and daughters; who has sacrificed for this community for decades, and who has led this program to unprecedented success be granted some modicum of respect and trust? Yet, for whatever reasons, this “loyalty” was not granted Coach Raynor in this moment. I’m hopeful that the intention of this parent community was not to disrespect their beloved coach of 27 years, as I’m sure that some of you may have already reached out to apologize to John Raynor.
I want to be very clear, the questioning of authority is one of the fundamental rights of our democracy. But, as a teacher, I also see a rising tide of lack of respect by students and their parents for those that have been placed in positions of leadership. Parents, teachers and administrators should be working together on behalf of the students to educate them about accountability, as well as to teach them how to respectfully disagree with others. It is my sincere hope that, in writing this letter, those who would so quickly abandon the hard work and dedication of an individual like Coach Raynor will reevaluate their words and actions in the future. The process of public education cannot be successful if district appointed administrators, teachers and coaches who have demonstrated care and concern are immediately abandoned in a moment of, what appears to be, personal expediency. Time and time again, I see this rising tide of disrespect resulting in the exodus of some talented people from public education. People like Coach Raynor.