Marlins struggle with program’s changes

Karisa Wesley is a teacher, coach and athletic director at Arnold High School.

Karisa Wesley is a teacher, coach and athletic director at Arnold High School.

News Herald file photo
Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 09:38 PM.

PANAMA CITY BEACH — The winds of change have blown through Arnold’s athletic department as if the high school is a wind tunnel.

The athletic department has traversed significant changes since the summer of 2012, and Arnold principal Keith Bland has made a pointed effort to usher out coaches whom he believed were not performing up to his expectations. Bland hand-picked their successors, and the results have not been what he had hoped.

Bay District Schools earlier this summer began investigating serious allegations against the school’s current athletic director, Karisa Wesley. Three other coaches — Bobby Britton, Tara Lemieux and Frank Padula — currently are part of or under investigation by the school district or at the state level.

“Right now we’re in disarray because we’re without an athletic director currently,” Bland said. “Four months ago it was heading in a better direction.”

Bay District Schools has suspended Wesley with pay while investigating whether she had sex, smoked marijuana and drank alcohol with former student Eddie Williams. Wesley already has admitted to having a relationship with Britton, violating Bay District Schools rules prohibiting supervisor-subordinate relationships. Lemieux is under investigation as part of the district’s inquiry into Wesley’s alleged misconduct with Williams.

Padula is under investigation by the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Professional Practices for allegedly having sex with a teenager while she was a student at Mosley.

Differing perspectives

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