I would like to start this letter by thanking Mike Hughes for his amazing commitment and dedication to the Telluride School District and this community. Although he was only paid .6 of his salary for being Athletic Director he devoted 100 percent of his life to making athletics succeed in Telluride. Who was always there to open the gym any time of day? Who got the call when refs didn’t show up? Who filled in for any position when needed; whether as a coach, as a ref, as a vehicle driver, or as a mentor? The answer: Athletic Director and teacher: Mike Hughes. Mike was always there. He gave his cell phone to students, he took at risk kids under his wing year after year, and he improved student’s high school careers. He grew Telluride’s athletic program into one of the finest in the state because of constant attention to detail and taking the time to know each student.
To think that the district administration’s current plan is to divide the responsibilities of this position among four full-time, over-extended people with no experience in Colorado athletics is not the right approach. This position requires significant logistical planning, time to understand and nurture our students, continued efforts to grow our leadership programs, mentor the kids, and the basic coaching and understanding of athletics; the list goes on. It is short-sighted and completely inadequate for the current administration not to replace the AD. While supporting the district’s goals to reach higher levels of success across multiple facets, to do so by dismantling one of the school’s foundations and huge successes is unsupportable.
There are a high percentage of students and parents directly affected by programs administered by the athletic department, for the school board and administration not to seriously consider replacing Mike but rather create a makeshift AD position with multiple persons is unfair to the students and the community. If the district can continue to subsidize students in the Palm Theatre, they can surely spend the same amount to insure continued quality in the athletic department by having a dedicated, responsible person in charge.
The time to act is now. Yes the school year has begun, it is late in the game but that is not an excuse. Please do not allow the amazing success of the athletic program to be compromised. I urge parents, students, community members to encourage the school board members and administrators to act now. We need to make sure our kids are well served through the 2014-2015 school year and for years to come.
– Laura Cattell Brown
Category: Letters to the Editor