Citizens speak out on the high school girls softball program

Some Grady County parents and grandparents of girls involved in softball appeared before the Grady County Board of Education to register complaints with the hiring of a girls softball coach at Cairo High School.
A total of seven citizens had registered for public participation but only four attended and three were from the same family.
John Mark Morrell, Cindy Morrell, and their daughter, Michelle Mobley, all spoke as did Diana Watson.
Registered, but not present were Mike Wilde, Todd Watson and Marc Lesuer.
John Mark Morrell told the board members the system needed to employ a “high quality softball coach in order to be competitive with other systems, particularly those in north Georgia.”
“If the head football coach left we would search out for a high quality football coach. My concern is a girls head softball coach is just as important as the football coach. Equal is equal,” Morrell said.
He said the “excuse” is there is no position available to hire a coach from outside the system. “If the board steps up and says let’s look for a high quality coach then the superintendent would direct the high school principal and the athletic director to conduct a search,” he said.
Cindy Morrell encouraged the board not to allow the girls softball program to be “patched year after year.” She said the program did not need a coach that is involved with the baseball program and cannot devote summers to girls softball.
Michelle Morrell Mobley told board members her daughter has dreams of playing softball on the Division 1 college level. “She deserves the same opportunity as any boy on the football field,” the concerned parent said.
Mobley said the coach the high school principal and athletic director are recommending for the next school term has coached at the high school before. “It didn’t work then, what makes them think it will work know?”
The most recent girls softball coach was Judson Hogan, who also coached middle school baseball. Hogan has resigned his coaching duties, but remains as a math instructor at Washington Middle School.
Cairo High School Principal David McCurry and Athletic Director Todd Jones have recommended Cathe Murphy Hoskins, a special education teacher at CHS, as the girls softball coach for the upcoming school term.
Board Chairman Teresa Gee Harris thanked the citizens for sharing their thoughts with the board. Board member Scott Higginbotham commented, “I agree with you. Changes need to come and hopefully changes will be coming soon.”
In other business Tuesday night, the board:
Accepted the superintendent’s recommendation to hire: Lynlee Barrett, middle school science teacher at Shiver; Michelle Harrell, pre-K teacher at Shiver; and Flecia Ware, special education teacher at Southside.
Accepted the resignations of Sarah Katherine Williams and Yvette Morrell.
Approved the retirement of Renee West, teacher at Southside; Audrey Hawthorne, school bus driver; and Bobbie Jean Brown, custodian at Washington.
Approved purchase of new equipment for the School Nutrition Program for various local schools.
Accepted a $3,440 bid from Southern Contractors for the removal of trees and a retaining wall on the campus of Northside Elementary School.
Approved letters of intent from principals of Cairo High School, Washington Middle School, Shiver Elementary School, and Whigham Elementary School to submit petitions for charter schools.
Adopted a spending resolution for July which will allow the system to operate at 1/12 of the approved expenditures for fiscal year 2011-2012. The board will adopt spending resolutions each month until a budget is approved.

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