Attorney: School board receptive to settlement

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis Municipal Schools board of education took no action Saturday following a special session to discuss pending or threatened litigation regarding basketball coach J.D. Isler’s lawsuit against the district.

Isler was suspended from coaching Dec. 16 by the New Mexico Activities Association and later terminated by the school on allegations he recruited a player to Clovis.

Isler filed a civil suit against superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm, the school board and the NMAA on Dec. 18.

The board recessed into executive session for about an hour.

Board President Lora Harlan, Vice President Mark Lansford, members Lola Bryant and Max Best, Seidenwurm and school attorney Dave Richards were a part of the executive session.

About 15 supporters of Isler waited while board members met.

After reconvening from executive session, Richards told the audience, “The board has been receptive to a settlement since this case has been introduced. I will continue to try to resolve the issue by settlement.”

Board members told the audience the statement from Richards was the only statement they would be making.

“We thought they were voting to get (Isler’s) contract back,” Yvette Gardner-Pickette said.

Her son, Deven Crockett, plays for the Wildcats. “He wants to play next year so we deserve to know what’s going on,” she said.

Gardner-Pickette said the board’s statement served as a pacifier.

“We hope Coach Isler is back next year. What happened to him is unfair and he deserves an apology. It won’t fix it, but it could make things better,” she said.

Sandy Howard, a friend of Isler’s wife, attended the meeting to support her friend. She said she thought the board was voting on whether or not to give Isler a coaching contract for next year.

“I want to know a reason why the board took no action,” Howard said. “It’s time to make it right. It’s time for them to support their teachers.”