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NKHS football hiring grievance settled

POULSBO — The controversy surrounding the decision of who will replace retiring North Kitsap High School football coach Jerry Parrish appears to be nearing resolution.

A grievance that alleged “contractual gaps in the hiring process” for the coaching position has been verbally settled between the school district and the North Kitsap Athletics and Activities Alliance (NK AAA).

The hiring committee made its recommendation Wednesday as to who should succeed Parrish but stopped short of making the formal announcement.

That will have to wait until the school board has its final say in the process at its Feb. 24 meeting.

NK AAA president Trish Olsen, who filed the grievance, said Tuesday that the matter had been put to rest as long as some clarification in the district’s contract with NK AAA was added.

First, Olsen mentioned that although the technical language of the contract may have been upheld, the fact that there was still a lack of representation from the existing football program should not have occurred.

“The NK AAA believes that, while the ‘letter of the law’ may have been upheld, the ‘spirit’ of the language was not,” Olsen wrote to NKSD administrators.

She also called the absence of a football coach on the hiring committee “... A colossal breach of the spirit of the language.”

The existing contract states that the “employer will have a NK AAA member from the appropriate school and/or activity involved in the process.”

Olsen’s second clarification concerned the selection of in-district candidates versus those out of district.

“... Unless an out-of-district candidate is ‘heads and shoulders’ more qualified than an in-building or in-district candidate,” she wrote, “the job offer will go first to in-building employees, then in-district employees and finally out-of-district applicants.”

The hiring committee, consisting of community members, teachers, administrators and even students, had recommended Bainbridge offensive coordinator Jake Haley as the choice for Parrish’s replacement in late January but that announcement sparked outrage among some in the community who felt an in-district candidate should be chosen for the position.

Aside from Haley, NKHS head baseball coach Steve Frease, current NK football defensive coordinator Dave Snyder and Jeff Weible, former coach who took over Parrish’s physical education duties, were also in the running for the job.

Haley turned down the football position Feb. 11, opting instead to take a position at El Toro High School in Orange County, Calif., forcing the hiring committee to make a second selection.

Olsen stated to administrators that the NK AAA would support any decision the hiring committee and NKHS Principal Roy Herrera makes provided that her clarifications were made to the contract.

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