Garfield High Athletic Director Fired

Athletics at Garfield hasn't been going very well this year.

First there was an investigation into the football coaches playing ineligible players and the outcomes from that.  Now comes word via a Seattle Times story that the Athletic Director, Jim Valiere, has been fired after a long investigation.

From the Times:

The action was taken because of "inappropriate and unprofessional behavior" and "violation of district policies," according to an April 11 termination letter to Valiere from Susan Enfield, Seattle Public Schools interim superintendent. The letter was obtained by The Seattle Times under the Freedom of Information Act.

In addition to being blamed for allowing ineligible student-athletes to play, the letter said Valiere misused district funds, disregarded policy and provided grades students didn't earn.

The investigation also alleged that Valiere misled the KingCo Conference and Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) by underreporting the number of ineligible Garfield football players who participated against Sammamish. It also alleged that Valiere hired a club soccer coach as a boys assistant in violation of WIAA rules.

Mr. Valiere has requested an open hearing about the matter.  He is quite popular at Garfield and I have to wonder if this is a ploy to get many supporters in the room (most personnel matters are closed door by request of both sides).

Pay for play is part of this as Valiere is alleged to have provided 19 Garfield athletes with what are being called "secret waivers" that allowed them to play without paying.  The district says this is improper use of funds.   He is also alleged to have given two students grades which they did not earn for a Spanish class.


There was this comment after the Times' article:

I was the baseball coach for Garfield High School for the past few years. I quit at the end of the 2010 season because of all the issues I faced as a coach at Garfield HS and the complete lack of support from The School.

At the end of the 2008 school year Ted Howard held a coaches meeting, at that meeting he stated that he was taking over the responsibilities of Athletic Director. While working with Jim Valier the next two years it was clear that he was given limited authority.

I say that Jim Valiere is being wrongly accused and punished here. The issues should rest with Mr. Howard, he was in control.

Jim Valiere did everything he could possibly do to help me and the baseball program. Jim was working with both hands tied behind his back. Everyone there knew this. In my four years there, Jim was the ONLY faculty member who attended baseball games. Not a single other faculty member attended a single inning of any game for four years.

Jim was loved by the students; he did his best, under the circumstances, to help the students, ballplayers and coaches at Garfield HS. I know I would have been lost without him.

Whenever I went to his office, it was obvious that he was involved with and cared about the students, you could not be around him and not see this. I would run into Jim at non-school events, where he was out seeing Garfield students playing for their summer teams.

Garfield HS needs people like Jim Valiere. It is a shame he has been made to take this on when it was not his doing.

It was signed, Joe Lucia.
Anonymous said…
He obviously wasn't political or photogenic enough. Besides, everyone knows, those with money to pay, play! That's what our great nation was founded upon. Look at Bill Gates!

Mr. Ed
Anonymous said…
I know this man personally and from what I know there is no way he is guilty of any of this. I believe it is a personal vendetta from one or 2 individuals. It's a shame our district has not dug deeper into this given a man's career is being destroyed. The best faculty seem to lose out in this district.

Anonymous said…
Anybody notice that there have now been 2 investigations at Garfield sports since Ray Willis, the fired basketball coach from Sealth, is now a counselor at Garfield.

Remember the Wroten investigation (

Do others who know more also wonder if part of what is happening is the district is keeping a very close eye on Garfield because of the ex-Sealth coach who is now counseling there? I'm not even saying I'm complaining if true - just wondering if that's why the close eye... or did lightning just happen to strike Garfield twice since coach Willis arrived.
Just sayin.... said…
Fortunately or maybe unfortunately in this case, laws protect employees from employers speaking badly about them as personnel matters are considered private between employee and employer unless a crime was committed. While an employee and their supporters can speak to the matter the employer cannot defend it's position due to the employee's privacy. The question is how do all the commenters in the in the Seattle times and reposted on this blog claim to have first hand knowledge of what did or didn't happen? If the employee is providing their position and claiming no fault they should be suing the district for wrongful termination vs. others faulting district personnel who by law cannot address the claims.
anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said…
"just wondering if that's why the close eye... or did lightning just happen to strike Garfield twice since coach Willis arrived."

Or maybe we finally have a semblance of accountability in this district? Maybe we are beginning to have oversight? Maybe this kind of stuff has been going on for a long long time and was overlooked in the past? I don't know this coach, or anything about this case, so I'm not commenting on this particular situation. But what I notice is that more teachers/coaches/principals have been fired over the past couple of years, than ever before. Thus, my thoughts that maybe there is more oversight and accountability in the district than there has been in the past.
Anonymous said…
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