Jodi Chmielewski Retains Job as PRHS Girls' Head Soccer Coach

Pine-Richland School Board votes 5-2 in favor of the coach.

Despite some parents' concerns about the way she does her job, Jodi Chmielewski retained her position as the head coach for the girls' varsity soccer team at .

The Pine-Richland School Board voted 5-2 Monday to retain Chmielewski as coach.

Voting in favor were school board directors Stephen Hawbaker, president; Jeff Banyas, vice president; Therese Dawson; Katie Shogan and Kevin Nigh.

Treasurer Dennis Sundo and Director Laura Ohlund voted against. Directors Peter Lyons and Virginia Goebel were absent.

Ohlund said she respected everyone at the meeting and their words, but she knew a lot about the situation and "could not sleep with her conscience" if she voted yes.

"This is one of the hardest parts of being a board member," Ohlund said.

Supporters and opponents of the coach filled the school board's meeting room to voice their concerns.

Cathy Graszl, president of the Pine-Richland Soccer Boosters, said it felt "surreal" to defend the program.

She spoke of the "toll this acrimony has had on the girls."

Graszl said the girls were trooped in and out of administrators' and investigators' offices to deal with "baseless accusations and falsehoods."

Cindy Reynolds, whose daughter Allyn suffered a concussion while playing soccer, said the issue is the players' safety.

After Allyn was hurt Aug. 30 of last year, Chmielewski put her back in the game and Allyn was hit again, her mother said.

The concussion she suffered caused her to go from being an A student to a C student, Cindy Reynolds said, and Allyn still is not cleared to play.

"I ask you to consider the safety of the girls and not the politics," Cindy Reynolds told the board.

When another speaker said the coach should not be removed because one person is unhappy, several people in the audience said "It's not one person."

Soccer player Lauren Keenan, speaking on behalf of more than a dozen players who attended the meeting wearing Pine-Richland soccer shirts, said the players supported the coach.

"We want to start a successful season with Jodi as our coach," she said.

"My heart breaks for these kids," said Debbie Libby, "All they want to do is go out and play their game."

Some speakers painted a picture of Chmielewski as a winning coach who "develops the whole player."

Chmielewski was the head coach when PRHS won the 2005 and 2006 WPIAL championships as well as the 2005 PIAA State Championship. She was named 2005 NSCAA East Regional Coach of the year and Pennsylvania state girls’ coach of the year, according to a flier for her Shoot To Score Soccer Camp.

Allyn's father, Jack Reynolds, thanked Sundo and Ohlund for their votes.

The Reynolds recently received a tape of the game from the booster association, after their attorney pushed for it, Cindy Reynolds said.

Jack Reynolds said 1 1/2 to 2 minutes of the tape are missing and he plans to have the tape analyzed to see if it was altered.

"You need to take a deeper look at this," he said. "You're passively accepting a situation that should not be allowed to exist."

Another mother told the board her daughters would not play soccer for Pine-Richland because of the coach.

Cindy Reynolds said the family plans to file a complaint with the state Department of Education.

"It's not over," she said, "It's so not over."

Allyn Reynolds, who still wants to play soccer, was the last speaker.

The rising sophomore asked the board what she was supposed to do when soccer practice starts Tuesday.

Should she go and take the stares and dirty looks, she asked as she started to cry, "or quit the sport I love because of one person?"


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Cindy Cusic Micco August 16, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Patch has deleted comments that it considers personal attacks, per our terms of service. http://pine-richland.patch.com/terms While we encourage people to be honest and post what’s on their minds, communities thrive when people care about each other, and as such, Patch expects all of its users to be respectful of others. This means that whether you are being complimentary or critical, whether you are agreeing or disagreeing with the subject of an article or another user’s comment, you should act in a civil manner and refrain from personal attacks – after all, these are your neighbors.
Shelly August 19, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Why is this article's comments one sided? I read a comment in support of this coach(from Paige) and gave an opposing opinion which has now been removed? Last time I checked I thought Pine-Richland was located in the USA where we had freedom of speech. This coach was not placed before a jury as far as I am aware so why cant we speak our thoughts freely for others to read, and not have them deleted. What if I state as above, I feel bad for the Coach, I cant imagine the pressure she is under in so many ways from this situation. There are always two sides to every situation people, and hope in your lifetime you are never in this situation to be judged !!
SSB August 19, 2012 at 03:18 PM
There seem to have been many comments removed that contained verbiage that was negative to the coach. What's up with that?
Elizabeth August 19, 2012 at 07:01 PM
the editor said those comments were too personal. You are not allowed to voice your opinion and i guess disagree with the administration of PR. Seems to me if you want people to discuss your articles then don't print one if you don't want both sides discussed about it. Saying a teacher is not the best your child has had is NOT personal and hopefully this falls under freedom of speech?! we are all neighbors in this community and we should be able to pass on our experiences to other parents so their children won't have the same consequences. If all these comments are so personal, then you should be taking off most of the comments on here about everyone else, politicians, school board, etc. What is the connection patch?
Fred Freitag August 20, 2012 at 03:22 PM
There are more than just 2 sides to this story - there are hundreds of sides to this story. Jodi is an abomination as a coach - a complete perversion to the entire PRSD soccer program.
Tripitapodria August 21, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Yes, why were all of the previous comments deleted??? By the way, there is a HUGE conflict of interest in the coach also being the coach of a "cup" team at North United. Apparently, if you don't play for her at North United, you can forget about playing at Pine Richland. North United players are shown favoritism at PR.
Elizabeth August 21, 2012 at 03:02 PM
And don't forget about her other job...teaching? Math. There is a HUGE conflict of interest with soccer and forgetting about teaching Math to her students. It takes priority over Math.. from past experience and complaints. sorry if its personal.Some times the truth hurts.
Fred Freitag August 22, 2012 at 02:30 PM
As to Cathy Graszl stating, "baseless accusations and falsehoods." That is clearly a biased opinion with an ulterior purpose. To the contrary, the accusations were not "falsehoods" nor "baseless". There were many parents and players who filed complaints against Jodi Chmielewski over the years only to have the complaints "circulared" nor investigated by the past Athletic Director. It is a complete travesty and shame that Ms. Chmielewski was rehired. The PRSD girls soccer program has not been successful because of her BUT in spite of her.
Concerned citizen 101 August 27, 2012 at 12:05 PM
As a soccer player for over 30 years with many coaches and trainers, at no time does a coach put a player in without being cleared by a trainer. A trainer simply won't allow it. Where was the trainer? This woman is involved in high school sports, cup, club for the love of the game. You don't coach soccer around here for money, you coach because you love it. It is also an atrocity and insulting to victims of sexual assault to even compare such an event to Penn St. Parents, quit babying your kids. Jodi is an outstanding citizen and has developed a program from nothing and not at the cost of your children, but at the cost of her own personal time, heart and soul. This woman gives it all and puts her heart and soul out there for comments that are "baseless." Do you even know her as a human being? If you did, your comments wouldn't be so hurtful.
Fred Freitag August 27, 2012 at 02:00 PM
I guess Concerned Citizen 101 that you need to know more of the facts of this matter to comment because obviously you don't know what you're talking about - especially in the matter at issue here. Moreover, the Penn State atrocity was more than just sexual abuse if you didn't get it - that it was about college sports run amok too. That it was about the power of the coaching staff and the administration succumbing to such. It was about the pecuniary gain and money involved in college sports. It was about how things can be "overlooked" to the detriment of people so that a sports program can continue to be glorified. It was about that a school, a sports program, it's administration, and coaching staff didn't care about the children who were injured. I guess you need to re-read all the articles and re-evaluate and understand what your reading! Wow, if that all you got out of that - it's truly a shame and disgrace.
Fred Freitag August 27, 2012 at 02:12 PM
"Hurtful" Concerned citizen 101???? You clearly are amazing to me. You miss the entire gist of the complaints and comments. You, like the Penn State administration and coaching staff (akin to the PRSD administration and board), fail to consider the child!!! You simply state in your written comments your ignorance!
Fred Freitag August 28, 2012 at 03:22 PM
All I can say is that's it's to bad that Kevin Nigh didn't resign BEFORE this vote was taken!
Susan M. August 28, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Fred, you seem awful close to this issue or are there other grudges that you hold against this teacher? As I stated before, I do not know either party, and I am not being accusatory or negative towards you, I just want to know the real facts. Not opinions. (if you care to share) Thanks!
Fred Freitag August 28, 2012 at 07:02 PM
I have opinions about this coach and think that she shouldn't have been rehired for many, many reasons. I think she abusive and a bully towards players. I think that she's been abusive for years. This latest attempt to oust her from the coaching wasn't the first - but at least the 3rd major movement to oust her by parents and players. Let's just say I'm very aware of Jodi and her many various issues. In the other blog - I did state some specific facts as to Jodi and her abusiveness and bullying towards players. There are more instances which I didn't state. However, the PRSD board was made aware of such because both parents and students wrote letters to the board about such. As I have stated and continue to advocate - Jodi should not be a coach of anything at PRSD in my opinion.
Thomas Gray August 28, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Fred, I am relatively new to the school district and I have come across a few other parents that have expressed a negative opinion of Jodi. They never provided any detailed reasons why they felt this way, not sure if you had a direct encounter with her that you would be able to share. Also, what were some of the other reasons\concerns that were brought to the school board that you felt justified her dismissal?
Fred Freitag August 28, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Mr. Gray - I would direct your attention to the other blog about Jodi on the Pine-Patch - here's a link: http://pine-richland.patch.com//articles/parents-file-complaint-with-wpial-about-pr-soccer-coach-jodi-chmielewski Within that blog there are many parents who made statements about Jodi. Additionally, I gave a small list of examples of what I believe is bullying and abusiveness by her. If you also go to that link and read what happened to Allyn Reynolds it's an outrage. Moreover, there are numerous other examples of such where girls are at risk of injury and Jodi is apathetic towards them or their injuries. I personally know parents who complaint to the previous Athletic Director who did absolutely nothing. In fact, he took their immediately complaint and then at a second scheduled meeting between he and the parents didn't acknowledge a complaint having been filed or know what they were meeting about. It's outrageous to say the least. Many parents and students gave examples and told their stories to the independent investigator (most of which I was privy too) and I thought for any individual incident she should have been fired yet alone for the collection of all the issues and matters presented. So that's why I am completely shocked and appalled that she was rehired.
Fred Freitag August 28, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Mr. Gray, if you have daughters I would direct them to play lacrosse or basketball or softball or something - but not soccer! Because, mark my words, you will regretfully get a personal event with Jodi which will leave you sour on the entire matter.
Thomas Gray August 28, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Fred, I will allow my children to determine what extracurricular activities they want to do, but to do recommend any specific soccer club?
Fred Freitag August 28, 2012 at 11:21 PM
That's your prerogative. No as to any specific club.
Fred Bloggs August 29, 2012 at 02:26 AM
My guess is Fred - you had a daughter that was a crappy player - didn't get playing time and you're PISSED!
Fred Bloggs August 29, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Fred - why don't YOU throw your name in the hat and coach - looks like you know more than anyone here.
Fred Freitag August 29, 2012 at 11:06 AM
No Fred Bloogs. To the contrary, she was/is a very good player and has been asked to play for IUP if she wants. Too, you fail to read other commentators statements. You fail to acknowledge the problems with this coach. It's NOT about playing time nor playing position. This coach is just not an acceptable role model for our children because of her bullying and abusive conduct which has been ongoing for many years. As was stated, this is NOT the first time that an attempt was made to oust her by parents and players. This was at least the 3rd major attempt based on a number of reasons. Jodi is actually even fraudulent about her own credentials - she never played soccer for Westminster! That was a "club" team or intramural team that she played for at Westminster - not their varsity team as she implies in her resume. Westminster has NO record of her ever playing soccer for Westminster whatsoever.
Mary B August 29, 2012 at 11:42 AM
This is NOT about play time! This is all about the way a coach/teacher is permitted to treat a player/student. The bullying that goes on from the coach is ridiculous and I cannot believe that PR lets this happen year after year after year. Unless you are involved in the high school soccer program or your young child has her for a teacher, you will have no idea what these players/students go through. I have witnessed her putting soccer players in direct danger and she laughed about it. My child has had her for a teacher and told me that she is more concerned with soccer than teaching! She is a disgrace to our district.
Elizabeth August 29, 2012 at 12:02 PM
I totally agree. This is about a coach/teacher who parents in the community need to realize what she is all about. My child had her many years ago when she was still in the middle school. Her teaching???? skills put her back one year and while this soccer situation is not about her teaching skills i feel that parents need to know the other side (teaching), she was constantly on her computer and phone about soccer! they even graded their own papers. Good Luck to the students who have her!
Fred Freitag August 29, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Fred Bloggs you amaze and astound me. Clearly you just don't get it!! I would direct you, like I have told other bloggers, to re-read what was stated here by the other bloggers. I am not the only one questioning her ability as a coach (some even have complained about her as a teacher in addition). Again, once more, this is NOT about playing time nor playing position, this is about a child's health, safety, welfare, and education. You obviously are part of the problem.
Lynn Knapp August 29, 2012 at 12:18 PM
This is not the only sub-par teacher at PR. Unfortunately our math department suffers greatly. My child is so thrilled to have a "blow off" math teacher this year. The reputation of PR is slipping greatly. My comment is not about a soccer coach but the great decline of our childrens education. This administration has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. It is like watching a South Park episode except lacking in the humor. So sad!
Fred Freitag August 29, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Sadly, I have heard your same comments from numerous other parents about her teaching.
another PR mom August 29, 2012 at 01:28 PM
What I don't understand is why, when this student had a DOCUMENTED concussion, are some parents saying this is about playing time. Hopefully those defending her can answer this for me.
Fred Freitag August 29, 2012 at 01:34 PM
That's strictly Jodi's attorney White making those statements - he is zealously representing his client. Jodi also said that the injured girl was "un-coachable" too. Which is blatantly a misrepresentation when she played for one of the best "cup" teams in the area (if not the best cup team). It's just unbelievable.
Fred Freitag October 16, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Sadly, the PRSD Girls Varsity Soccer team lost last night and didn’t make the play-offs this year. As I always said, the soccer team has been successful not because of Jodi Chmielewski - but in spite of her! Too bad the school board rehired her once more as the coach. This year, Ms. Chmielewski basically had the exact same team as she had last year. In fact, it was advocated and touted last year that there were “NO SENIORS” on the team. Moreover, the PRSD Girls Varsity Soccer team was ranked 3rd in WPIAL before the season started because of that sad scenario of not graduating or losing any seniors from last year’s team. However, regretfully, this year they didn’t even finish 3rd in their division yet alone 3rd in the WPIAL. Needless to say, the PRSD Varsity Girls Soccer team’s finishing out of a play-off spot didn’t surprise me. Neither did Jodi’s performance as a coach surprise me - I expected such. I have always thought she’s a poor excuse as a coach and an even poorer excuse as a person. There has always been an abundance of talent within the PRSD. This year was no exception - there was an abundance of talent and experience on the team. In fact, the Girl’s Varsity Soccer team could boast about having one of the best players in the State of Pennsylvania. So, my condolences to the players of the PRSD Girls Varsity Soccer team - in my mind you were successful given the coach you had to play under and for.


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