Fitch High School cheerleading coach seeking explanation for decision not to rehire her

Groton - Parents and students are cheering for Brooke Myers.

But so far, it hasn't helped her get back the job she held for the past two years.

Until May 25, Myers was the head coach of Fitch High School's reigning ECC Large Division cheerleading team that, besides cheering for football and basketball games, competed, in CIAC sanctioned and open competitions.

Myers, who was the team's assistant coach for two years before being named head coach, said she has been confused and rebuffed since that day in May day when Athletic Director Rich Kosta called her to his office.

"He gave me an envelope and said it was from Mr. (Joe) Arcarese, the principal," she said. "It said, 'If you reapply for the position of cheerleading coach ... you will not be reappointed by the principal.' When (Kosta) handed it to me he said it was from the principal, but it had his signature."

Neither Kosta, Arcarese nor interim Superintendent of Schools Randall Collins would comment because it is a personnel issue. All coaches in the school district work on one-year contracts. Girls' basketball Coach David Huber also was not invited to re-apply.

"I don't feel like I've done anything to not be reappointed," she said. "I have a set of rules and a handbook on proper conduct when you wear our uniform. That's in addition to school rules."

Myers said she knows she doesn't have options but would still like an explanation. She said she tried to communicate with Arcarese and Collins as well as Superintendent Paul Kadri, before he was placed on administrative leave for another matter, but has not received any responses.

She said she contacted all nine members of the school board. Three responded, telling her that the board does not have purview over personnel issues.

Parents of cheerleaders who went to school officials to support their daughters were similarly rebuffed.

"I personally cannot express to you how these girls and their parents feel," said Kammie Valdez in an email. "This is devastating to them. It seems they think we will just give up and go away. Well, this is not the case. Brooke has done nothing wrong to deserve this. She is a great coach and her record shows that."

Another parent was equally frustrated.

"I think she got railroaded,' said Melissa Morgan. "They are not just taking a coach away. They're taking a mentor. Those are Brooke's kids. She doesn't have kids. She has a dog and a boyfriend. They have no reason to do this to her. Those girls look up to her."

Myers said she encouraged the girls to continue cheering and promised to support them in the coming season, no matter who is the coach.

c.potter@theday.com

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