NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Relocating Thursday night's Nacogdoches Independent School District meeting to the high school auditorium wasn't enough to contain the crowd that came to watch the spectacle of the athletic department. An emotional, yet orderly meeting brought about a reversal of decision and new board leadership.
Every seat was taken inside the auditorium, sending lines of students, parents, and members of the community into the corridors outside. The future of the former athletic director and 30-year soccer coach was the most visible item on the agenda.
"I really hate the way that this has all been handled, and I'm just out to show support for Farshid," said Kristen Jasper, NISD Government Teacher.
The NISD Board of Trustees began their meeting promptly at six o'clock to hear discussion about the future of the district's Athletic Director position. A day after the announcement that interim athletic director Dennis Parker had separated with the district, came the announcement that Farshid Niroumand would retain his original role.
"At Dr. Hayes' strong request, I have agreed to continue as athletic director and soccer coach for the remainder of my contract," said Niroumand.
Board members approved the decision that Niroumand would serve the remainder of his existing contract as athletic director and soccer coach. His employment status would be revisited in 2014 at the expiration of that contract.
Niroumand addressed a packed auditorium, saying he was humbled by the outpouring of support after announcing his departure. "I'm most humbled, and maybe something good comes out."
During his brief statement at the podium, he revealed that his intent was to remain with the school district. A standing ovation and cheers echoed through the room as Niroumand walked away.
NISD Superintendent Fred Hayes expressed his pleasure with the decision, welcoming Farshid back to his position.
Following their remarks, NISD Board of Trustees president Matt Rocco opened the floor for public discussion. Earlier in the afternoon, those interested in speaking posted their names on a sign-up sheet at the administration building. It remained there until 5 o'clock when it was moved to the high school. Administrators set aside 30 minutes for public discussion, allowing each speaker 3 minutes. Speakers brought to question issues of alleged underage drinking during homecoming and eventually called for the removal of Rocco from the board.
"I feel like those on the board who have a personal or conflicting interest, and they know who they are. I believe that in good interest and being responsible, they should step back," said Valencia Basinger, an NISD mother of two.
Following the open discussion, board members heard motions to reorganize the NISD board of trustees. School board member T.D. Howarth made the motion to realign the board, citing a request from Rocco to have two board members communicate with him only through his attorney. After the meeting, Howarth said if it was that difficult to communicate with the board president, there needed to be a change. At least two votes were made to replace President Matt Rocco unsuccessfully, before the meeting moved into a closed, executive session.
Eventually Matt Rocco was ousted out as president of the board. A final nomination saw approval, making Mike Claude the new president. Alan Soward was elected vice president along with Lisa Mize as secretary.
Next on the agenda came discussion of the employment of Nacogdoches High School head baseball coach Nicholus Wiggins. He is currently on paid administrative leave for undisclosed personnel issues. A decision was not made public at the close of the meeting.
Friday on the East Texas News, KTRE will have interviews with the new leadership of NISD board of trustees.