Life School superintendent sends email to parents denying coach was fired over ‘gender preference’

Nikki Williams, left, and her fiancee, Jen DeSaegher

In this week’s Voice I have a story about Nikki Williams, the teacher and coach who alleges she was fired by Life School Waxahachie after administrators learned she’s a lesbian.

While working on the story this week, I put in a call to Brent Wilson, executive superintendent of Life School — which has five campuses in North Texas — but he didn’t respond to my message.

Then, sometime on Thursday after the story had gone to press, Wilson sent an email to “stakeholders” denying Williams’ allegations. I’ve posted a screen grab of the email — which was forwarded to Williams’ partner by a parent — below.

“It has recently been reported that Life School terminated a teacher based on her gender preference,” Wilson’s email states. “I would like to let all of our stakeholders know Life School does not engage in nor condone any discrimination in its employment practices. The former employee’s gender preference had no impact on Life School’s decision to terminate employment. … We are confident we have made the right decision for Life School.”

We’re assuming that when he says “gender preference,” Wilson means “sexual orientation.” Is “gender preference” a new code term since it’s a school and they don’t want minors to see the word “sexual”? In five years of working in the gay press, I’d never encountered the term “gender preference,” but this marks the second time I’ve seen it used while working on this story. Williams’ attorney also used “gender preference” in the grievance she filed with the school. Which is rather strange since “gender preference” is more commonly used to refer to parents who would want their newborns to be a boy or a girl.

Anyhow, someone who shared my story on Facebook mentioned that they were interested in writing a letter to Life School about Williams’ termination, so I thought I’d go ahead and provide contact info.

Both Wilson and Charles Pulliam, the HR director who says it was his decision to fire Williams, work at the Life School central office in Lancaster. The number there is 972-274-7900, and the address is 950 S. Interstate 35E, Lancaster, TX 75146.

According to the Life School website, Wilson can also be reached via email at brent.wilson@lifeschools.net.

The full text of Wilson’s email is below.

—  John Wright