Teaching language arts to 10th graders at Tahlequah High School was April Quiett’s passion. She did it for 11 years.
“I was incredibly happy with my job in the classroom,” Quiett said. “I had no problem with my colleagues.”
She also coached varsity girls tennis, taking over for Tyler Ashley. But now Quiett is on her way to join Ashley at Union, where she’ll coach middle school tennis and assist with the cross country team.
“It had to be something great for me to go,” said Quiett, who, on Sunday night, revealed to her current tennis players that she was leaving for the Tulsa area. “When the Lord opens the doors that wide, you have to go through it.”
Helping push Quiett toward a coaching position at Union: Tahlequah athletics.
“I’m a little disillusioned with the athletic program,” Quiett said. “We can’t keep an AD. The tennis program doesn’t really mean anything. If it’s not football or basketball, then most don’t care.”
Quiett’s fatigue level with Tahlequah athletics as a whole had reached its boiling point.
“I’m just tired,” she said. “I’m very unhappy that in a town like Tahlequah that parents can control a basketball program. They can get rid of two basketball coaches in two years. That really bothers me.”
Quiett was alluding to Mike Leafgreen and Pat Dotson, boys basketball coaches that were relieved of their coaching duties in the springs of 2013 and 2014. Rickey Bruner Jr. has since been named the new boys basketball coach.
During the recently-concluded tennis season, Quiett watched her No. 1 doubles team of Katie Schneider and Sarah Schiefelbein finish fourth at the Class 5A state tournament. And along the way, Quiett never felt like she was in jeopardy of losing her job.
“I wasn’t worried about losing my job as the tennis coach,” Quiett said, “because people don’t care about tennis.”
Asked about Quiett’s comments about the athletics program, Lisa Presley, superintendent of Tahlequah Public Schools, said: “I wasn’t aware of any disillusionment. I don’t know how I would comment beyond that.”
Quiett also said she wanted to prevent her son from playing for a program where the parents pull the strings.
“I didn’t want to bring my son up in this,” Quiett said. “(The Union position) was a greater opportunity, and more importantly it was a greater opportunity for my son.”
While Quiett is moving on to the Tulsa area, she still wants to see Tahlequah succeed ever after she departs.
“There are some definite changes that need to be made,” she said. “We have to stop letting parents control who we hire and fire. The administration needs to get behind coaches and defend them.”