Lyndonville teacher says athletic director should have been retained by district

Posted 25 June 2019 at 3:17 pm


When a man or woman pursues a profession as an athletic director or coach, they willingly and knowingly submit themselves to a life of unbridled criticism. For every decision they make there are those who will publicly analyze and criticize those decisions. Everyone is an arm-chair quarterback who has the right to question every move and to share their respective analyses and perceived competency.

In Lyndonville, the Board of Education has done one better. They no longer look at evaluations by the Superintendent or recommendations made by the Superintendent. They simply act on their own personal agenda. This has never been clearer over the last three years until the time when two longtime coaches and now the athletic director have been let go after being recommended by Superintendent Jason Smith.

Like Jeff Gress and Jim O’Connor before him, Lee Dillenbeck was not hired back by the district after 18 years of outstanding service. Dillenbeck was recommended by Smith, his recent direct supervisor (changed in 2017), to the Board after receiving an exemplary evaluation. However, the board voted 4 to 3. They gave no reason for this vote nor do they have to. They can vote any way they want without having to give our community any reason for this unexpected and unrecommended departure.

Lee has given everything to this district over the last 23 years. He has been an elementary and high school physical education teacher, soccer coach for both the JV and Varsity teams, basketball coach for the JV and Varsity teams, Softball coach JV and Varsity teams, ran the youth basketball program, and served as district athletic director. He even stepped in to do the dean of students job for six years to save a full-time position in his department. He has been and will continue to be the consummate professional.

The community needs to realize what the truth is. Lee did nothing wrong. If he did do anything wrong it is giving all that he had to a position he loves, taking time away from his five kids, wife and family to make sure the students, athletes, coaches and community had everything they need to be successful. In the eyes of the Lyndonville Board of Education this seems to be a bad thing because Jeff Gress and Jim O’Connor did the same and suffered the same fate.

Having worked with Lee for the past 22 years, as a teacher and  as a coach of the Varsity Baseball team for the past 18 years, I can honestly say our success is due to his leadership. So please come out and show your support for Lee, ask questions, speak up and be heard.

This is our community, we cannot sit silent, leaving the room empty and the Board answering to nobody. We as long-time members of a great community can no longer let a Board make decisions based on their own personal agendas. We need to be present in that room supporting the future of our Lyndonville family and our future Tigers.

The next Board Meeting is July 1 at 7 p.m. in the High School Library.

Shane Price

Lyndonville resident

Lyndonville Teachers’ Association President

Teacher (22 years)

Varsity Baseball Coach