S-VE cheer coach speaks out after dismissal

Recently dismissed Spencer-Van Etten Girls’ Varsity Cheer Coach Candis Seeley appeared before the school board Thursday to detail what she says were issues surrounding her dismissal.

VAN ETTEN — Recently dismissed Spencer-Van Etten Girls’ Varsity Cheer Coach Candis Seeley appeared before the school board Thursday during public session and accused the district of improperly removing her for another coach who did not have the proper certification.

Dismissed in January during the cheer season while out of the country on vacation, Seeley also accused the district of violating Title IX in regard to the treatment of the team while she was employed.

“The woman I was replaced by while I was out of the country did not have the proper certification to supervise tumbling and gymnastic elements at the time she was named coach,” Seeley said after the meeting.

While acknowledging that the new coach most likely has her certification presently, Seeley said that was not the case when she was initially named the new coach.

“I was replaced by Athletic Director Rebecca Saggiomo, and I was told it was because I cancelled practice while I was on vacation. But I cancelled practice because I found out the temporary replacement she hired did not have the proper certification to supervise what the team does. So, for safety concerns, I cancelled practice,” Seeley said.

Saggiomo, who also serves as the assistant principal for the high school, was not in attendance at the meeting due to feeling under the weather.

Seeley also stated that when she took the job as cheer coach before this year, she made it clear to Saggiomo that she would still have to leave the country during the season due to a pre-planned vacation, and was assured that was fine.

“I know you guys heard the other side of the story, but I think you also need to hear mine, and somewhere in the middle is probably the truth,” Seeley said.

Seeley also detailed what she viewed as illegal practices at the high school as in regard to athletics and Title IX.

“We were not provided the same level of transportation as boys teams, which is a violation, and we were repeatedly removed from facilities we had booked in advance for out of season men’s teams,” Seeley said.

Seeley also accused the current coach of retaliating against members of the cheer team for supporting and communicating with her specifically mentioning that one of the captains she appointed early in the season was recently demoted by the current coach.

To bolster her position, Seeley provided emails of correspondence with Saggiomo that she said proves the validity of her argument.

Board President Don Johnson acknowledged what Saggiomo said but said that it is not normal practice for the board to engage with public speakers.

“I just want my position back. I poured a lot of effort and tears into those girls and I just feel it was unfair that I can not work with them anymore,” Seeley said.

During the meeting, the board also authorized the sale of two older school busses, surplus furniture and surplus ski equipment. Expected to bring in roughly $30,000, Spencer Van Etten Business Administrator Susan Gray said the sales are as much about clearing space as making a profit.

“The buses are expected to bring in about $25,000, and we have had an auction company come in and catalogue and take photos of the furniture we want to get rid of,” Seeley said before the meeting started.

During the meeting Seeley said that the furniture has been taking up valuable space inside the school for years.

“And this way we might make a little bit of money instead of having to hire a dumpster and throwing it all away,” Gray said.

Gray said that the district would sell the ski equipment through a separate auction company.

The board unanimously approved the sale of the two busses along with the surplus furniture and ski equipment.

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