Denny Faber: I was fired

Board of directors, 'ultimate authority' on employment at school, won't comment on decision
Alissa Widman Neese
Jul 9, 2014

widman@sanduskyregister.com

Loyalty.

Denny Faber, Sandusky Central Catholic School's longtime athletic director, strove to embody the concept throughout his 31-year career.

His cherished institution apparently didn't reciprocate.

On May 16, Faber's career at his alma mater came to an abrupt end.

Sandusky Central Catholic School's board of directors voted to end his employment, in what school officials referred to as a contract "non-renewal," he told the Register.

He contends the act is an unjust firing.

"My life was shattered," Faber said. "After 31 years, how is it not a firing?"

Word spread quickly throughout Sandusky's Catholic community.

Numerous "school stakeholders" contacted the Catholic Diocese of Toledo this summer regarding the matter, Christopher Knight, its superintendent of schools, confirmed Tuesday.

A diocese representative then visited Sandusky to discuss the situation, Knight said.

Ultimately, the person recommended school officials offer the former athletic director another one-year contract, Faber said.

Sandusky Central Catholic School awards all its employees one-year contracts each year.

Knight refused to comment on the diocese's suggestion, which is "internal information only," he said.

On July 3 — nearly seven weeks after his firing — school officials instead offered Faber a deal: a small stipend of anonymously donated funds for part-time work, without a contract backing the employment terms, he said.

Faber declined.

"All I wanted was a contract like everyone else," he said. 

It's unclear what motivated the board's decision to fire Faber, or how many members voted to do so.

Tamara Humphrey, the board's president, said the board does not comment on any decisions involving personnel. 

The Rev. Michael Roemmele, Sandusky Central Catholic School's chancellor, is out of Ohio until Aug. 11 for an educational course, a secretary said Tuesday.

Kevin Youskievicz, longtime president of the school's independent Athletic Booster Club, said Tuesday the firing was news to him.

"I've never worked with a more professional person," Youskievicz said. "I can't even speculate as to why they let him go."

Faber is a 1967 St. Mary's High School alumnus. Before joining the staff at the school in 1983, he worked as a teacher for 10 years at Catholic schools in Fremont and Toledo.

In 2007, school students voted to rename "The Den," the school gymnasium, "The Denny," for one day each year in Faber's honor.

Faber told the Register on Monday he had planned to retire from Sandusky Central Catholic School within two years, after properly training a replacement to take on his position.

In December, Sandusky Central Catholic School hired alumnus Ryan Wikel as its co-athletic director. It's unclear if he will be the school's sole athletic director in the 2014-15 school year.

Speaking out

Faber is the first individual to speak with the Register about Sandusky Central Catholic School's work climate without fear of being named.

That doesn't mean the decision was easy.

"I'm very disappointed it's come to this," Faber said. "I've given my life to that school, and I have really mixed and torn feelings about it. But these are the facts about what happened to me."

The Register also spoke with Faber's wife, Beverly, on Monday.

The pair contends a few school board members with "personal agendas" are responsible for Faber's firing, as well as other controversial decisions occurring at the school this year.

The Fabers said they preferred the Register not publish the names of the board members, for fear of legal retaliation.

When contacted Tuesday, Humphrey confirmed the board of directors is the "ultimate authority" at Sandusky Central Catholic School. The board has the authority to hire and fire administrators, including principals, chancellors and presidents, as well as a "few other key administrative jobs," she said.

The board operates with "limited power," however, based on diocese-approved statutes from the school, Humphrey said.

Humphrey said she'll ask school officials to provide the Register with an emailed statement regarding the school board, to provide more insight into its makeup, policies and election procedures.

Beverly, who also graduated from St. Mary's High School, said she chose to speak out because she's fearful for the school's future under its current leadership.

"This school is our lifeblood, and this year is devastating and unprecedented," she said. "This is about more than Denny. We care about the school, and we want to save it."

Tumultuous year

In this past year, Sandusky Central Catholic School has been subjected to scrutiny from employees and outsiders alike.

In January, the school netted national attention when officials fired band director Brian Panetta for becoming engaged to his boyfriend of five years.

On May 29, shortly after Faber's firing, school officials implemented a controversial pay scale for teachers.

The scale cuts some veteran teacher salaries by as much as 12 to 20 percent, and teachers impacted said they wonder if officials are attempting to oust experienced, expensive teachers.

On June 18, former teacher Tracy Frederick, a 20-year employee, filed an age discrimination lawsuit against Sandusky Central Catholic School in federal court.

School officials did not renew Frederick's contract in August 2013, and then allegedly hired younger employees into positions for which she was qualified, according to the suit.

Sandusky Central Catholic School also lost its top two administrators this month.

First-year president Melody Curtis left July 1 for a job at Immaculate Conception School in Bellevue, while K-12 principal Mike Savona announced his retirement, effective the same date.

On June 30, however, St. John's Jesuit High School & Academy in Toledo announced it hired Savona as its academy principal, according to its website.

Note: Because Sandusky Central Catholic School is a private school and not funded by tax dollars, it is not required to release any documents or financial information to the Register.

Comments

ThrowTheBumsOut

This is no surprise. A group of elitist snobs have been running the school into the ground for some time now. Sadly, they are teaching, by example, the kids to be elitist snobs also. All the accolades they heap on themselves can't change the facts. Years ago the school did a similar thing to Wally Amburn (remember his winning record?) He had a problem, no doubt, but they swept him out the door also - instead of doing the Christian thing and getting him help. They destroyed him and are doing the same thing to Denny. I used to be proud to be an alumni of St. Mary's school - now I am simply ashamed to be associated with it, Thus I am not a supporter at all of this kind of secular behavior. It has stopped being guided by Catholic, Christian values in spite of all their claims to being different and better. How is this school any different than any public school? It is not. Society suffers because of the elitist, egotistical students they are forming and sending out into the world.

sugar

They've done it to students too. If you were a trouble maker , as sometimes teens will be, but daddy could write a check your inappropriate behavior was tolerated. Unfortunately not all parents could write those checks, so adios to those students. Jesus loved the children, I'm sure he wouldn't have tossed a problem child to the street.

arod1112

Good point Another Day! The Endowment Committee needs to be looked at. Those on it are the ones who fund it. Doesn't seem right, but don't look at them opening their coffers, pretty tight bunch!! All mingle in the same social circles.
I'm not sure what parent coaches exist at the high school level. But that type of thing goes on everywhere. PHS had a high school coach coaching his own daughter in a varsity sport. My kids attended SMCC and their coaches had no students enrolled in the school at the time, so I'm not sure where you get your information on this topic. Grade school and Junior High sports are pretty much dependent on parent coaches.

OSUAV8TER

Arod, again, that is a terrible idea! Taking money out of the endowment fund will only kill the endowment fund. The only money that should be withdrawn is the interest that it produces.

arod1112

Never said to take the money OUT of the endowment fund. Just said it needed to be looked at......read my post again!

jgoad

Another Day makes a couple of good points, but I have to ask what high school coaches are parents of kids on the team? I can think of none.

Melody Curtis was keeping Mr. Faber on for another year to help teach and guide the new AD. The Board did not want that and after she left they went ahead and got rid of Faber on the spot after the arrangement had been made to stay another year.

arod1112

Seems the Board may have been mico-managing Ms. Curtis, which again, is not their job. Certainly explains why she left abruptly.

mls

She left because that's what she does. Look at her track record, she hasn't stayed anywhere very long. She outright lied to parents and staff alike.

Another Day

MLS, she was only supposed to be there 1 year and only had a 1 yr contract. Make changes to keep the school open or close it.

mls

She told many people she would be there when their children graduated. She lied. Everyone only has a one year contract.

Karma2u

Well said MLS...and everything you said is true. Doen's matter now she is gone but this is her pattern. Now she is off to destroy another school...

Another Day

No they were not, the board supported her. As someone told me 1 step forward 3 steps back. The teachers and staff chased her out of there. Not the BOD.

As I said before look where the money is. My guess more positions will be eliminated before school starts. Some need to be filled asap also.

Another Day

The Endowment Committee are the ones holding the money from donors, and a ton of it. Not the school! You also have to pay them a fee to apply for financial aide per student (NEW). This is all online before they brought the website down to redo. Schools hands are tied, there is no money!

They had to cut, and could not have duplicate positions everyone saw it coming last year. My guess a few more will be gone soon. Melody tried to stop it by helping every family financially. She made those calls and it worked we kept our kids there another year and so did many others. Now many are gone.

Enrollment is down, the economy has hit the school hard. This publicity is not helping which disappoints me and has hurt the kids in the end. Hopefully the new principals will handle the teacher and staff issues and we will see smiles again. The majority of the kids are middle class no names ,yet with great character and a heck of alot of heart and most get some financial aide; but it is not enough. Then there are kids who should have been expelled 10x by now but they are from the chosen few.

Unless they come forward with some sort of help to the families to get their support..this school will close.

COACHES:
I will clarify, there are "some" new coaches again that are parents, both JH and HS, not all coaches have kids there, not all coaches new or are parents; a few parent coaches are back. So the "pack" is back as we call, it will be the "so and so show" again. Heard from the athletes (I call them that since that is what they are at that age not kids playing a sport) complaining about it. Last year these levels did not have parent coaches, kids were happy and enjoyed their sports for the first time and worked hard. It was a great year even though they did not have winning records, for them they got play time and got to develop their talents. But they will barely be able to field a team this year for football on all levels except CYO.

All you have to do is look on the sidelines at who is standing down there(some who are NOT coaches even) during a game and has kids playing who absolutely do not belong in their positions.

I know there are parent coaches at other schools, hard at times not to have. Lower grades it is one thing, at JH and up it becomes an issue at SMCC. As I said look at the sidelines. Many kids never stick with a sport after elementary because of parent coaches (nationally it is an issue) which is sad or they switch schools.

swimfan

Another Day, You have it wrong. The SCCS Education Foundation has nothing to do with deciding who gets financial aid at SCCS. This is determined by the school and they are the ones who are assessing the fees. The SCCS Education Foundation oversees the wishes of donors who generously gave monies to the school for various purposes...tuition assistance, teachers, scholarships etc. Be careful who you accuse...get your facts straight.

Another Day

Swimfan.. I am not trying to accuse anyone of anything. It would be nice to really understand who does what,and see everyone work together to get through this mess. There are too many committees overseeing too many areas and making decisions about money, staff, hiring and firing, events, contracts..etc

Everyone is pointing fingers within SMCC at each other. Which includes all areas that run or areas that help fund it. Parents are totally confused and so are donors by reading all the comments and hearing what they hear at school or from other donors.

But,you just stated you control money from donors for teachers for example, then why did the BOD have to cut so much out of the budget for teachers and other positions. Just a question to prove my point, I do not want an answer. BOD is taking the hit and there is funding there.

And I did state that Melody last year tried to provide as much financial assistant/tuition aide to many families so they could afford to stay, so I think I have that fact correct as her being part of the school administration. I did not say the Endowment, I guess now called the SCCS Education Foundation gave the financial aide.

I do not really care who is assessing the fees they are being assessed, but thank you for clarifying it. FACT: The fees are not a happy point with the families in need. Now everyone hopefully has the feedback being discussed on the street and will listen to it.

Basically, we would "LOVE" to know the facts, since within the school we can be told 3 different things on the same subject by 3 different areas within the school.

swimfan

Another Day, the people who are making the decisions to hire, fire, staffing, money, events, contracts, tuition fees and everything else is the school board. They have the ultimate power over all decisions being made at the school.
I guess I cannot understand why the board has created new positions but say they have no money. I think a town hall meeting would be beneficial so that questions can be asked to the board.

jgoad

Another Day - I ask you again to name coaches at the hs level who are parents of athletes on the team.

too many people on here talk too much sh t about things they know nothing about. the only reason im picking on this is because it is easy to disprove and not a case of he said she said.

HS: Football, wrestling, boys tennis, girls tennis, swimming, basketball, girls basketball, cross country, track, baseball, softball, cheerleading do not have parents as coaches. period.
the volleyball coach just hired this year has a daughter that is now a junior and I hardly think that falls into the classification you are talking about.

jh as you say is different but I don't think there are many examples there either - no more than anywhere else. so please name names where all these athletes were mistreated by parents who were coaching their own kids in the high school or stop spreading bs that you know nothing about, and that goes for everyone else here spreading rumors and wishful thinking.

ps. the school is not closing.

Holding Court

High school football- Dan Schwerer is a coach and his son plays. I'm not saying any special favors have been given to his son. His son is an outstanding player. Dan has been a football coach for many years, does a fine job and sets a wonderful example for his players.

mls

Corrine Capizi...high school cheer coach.... Sub. Teacher and 5 kids at the school
Chris Capizi...asst high school football coach...5 kids at the school
Inga Powell...high school tennis coach...2 kids at the school
Jessica Lewis...Jr high volleyball coach...Teacher and 2 kids at the school.

Holding Court

Inga Powell's children do not play tennis on the high school team she "coaches"...

jgoad

Another Day commented that parents are coaching their kids at the high school level making life miserable for the other kids. Corrinne Capizi does not coach her son or daughter in cheerleading.
Chris Capizi does not coach his kids in high school football
Inga Powell does not coach her kids in high school tennis
Jessica Lewis does not coach her kids in high school volleyball
Dan Schwerer has been a long time football and baseball coach at the school and was coaching long before his kids grew up to be coached by him, should he quit coaching because his kids have grown into the sport he is coaching?
Yes, they all have children at the school, in lower grades, but should they send them to some other school because they teach and coach at SMCC?

ps. the school is not closing :)

Another Day

First, you are focusing on High School, which will be a problem next year with more parent coaches as kids progress up through the grades. If you go back to my original posting I did NOT say high school. I said "higher grades", meaning JH (Starts at 6th grade actually Middle School now no more JH)and HS. So here are a few more, Roth, Wilnau, Kresser, Kaftan(BOD). They all have coached their kids and some will be this year again in JH and/or HS levels. Not sure if Fisher coaches or just helps out.

The only teams I know with no parent coaches on the higher grades are JH and HS are Cross Country, Track and Swimming, Tennis..there may be more. How do you think other kids feel seeing the parent and/or teachers kids down on the line or at all the sporting events sitting with the HS groups like cheer leading or football (example only) knowing in a few years those kids already have an advantage over them.

My sons and daughter can handle it, but they do complain along with their other co-players. As a father I was disappointed this year hearing it already before the season even had started.

The kids have termed it the "So and So Show" when it happens; it is what it is but an extension of the problem at the school. That is the point I was making, please do not digress from that. I will not name kids names since it is inappropriate in this forum.

Lastly, I admire their dedication and time they put in. But as you stated they are coaching their "OWN" kids. Help from other parents who have offered is "DISMISSED". Every athlete by JH should be learning every position and slowly will fall into the one where their talents fall, but having a QB that is 1-2 ft shorter than the guy who you SHOULD be coaching and grooming for the position in HS ; one that can actually see over our defensive line would be COACHING. That is how you groom your team into a winning team for the future.

Lastly, mistreatment I never said occurred. Those were your words. I believe they are a bit harsh for my comment, we are all talking about the main issue in the school "YOUR NAME" and what it gets you. But I do know of an instance of a boy standing on the sideline with an obvious broken arm (which could be seen from across the field)for about 15-20 min before the other opposing team coach called timeout and went over and said something to our coaches..kid did not get much play, but he did not have to suffer in pain. The coaches ignored his injury when he went to them on the field. He does not play any longer, this was reported to Denny Faber. This is a safety issue for the children since the opposing team had to provide the ice packs for the boy and parents could finally get him off the field to take him to the ER. Feel free to analyze how you will.

I do know the facts since I live in the middle of them with the kids, and this is what comes out of the mouths of the kids. They live even more in the middle of it. So please do not say to me I do not know anything about this topic. The boys and girls are very vocal, especially when they get together off the field or court.

Everyone else, thank you for chiming in with the list, I am sure it is longer. There were changes this year.

jgoad

None of the coaches you mention again are coaching HS or JH. So by "upper grades" I guess you mean 4th 5th and 6th grade. Sorry I misunderstood that.

Kresser coaches hs track but does not coach his own kids in hs track. So pretty much the whole point of your original post is wildly inaccurate: "Unfortunately, we are back to parent coaches again in higher grades...ridiculous."

What you are saying happens, simply does not happen.

Fischer does not coach jh football so he is not responsible for his son playing over others when he "cannot see over the line." He is a very fast, athletic kid playing qb which helps when your line is totally outmanned and the qb is running for his life .5 seconds into a play.

Many of the 4th 5th and 6th grade programs would not even exist if those parents had not stepped up to take over the bball and fball programs, I know that for a fact, so you should thank those parents or next time volunteer to take over then you can "play" your kid even if they don't deserve it. Which btw I don't believe happens anywhere at any level as much as people think. It's usually just parents' wounded egos.

Another Day

JGoad.. Enough! Now you have lowered yourself to kids names, and now for other kids to read put him on a pedestal. Do you know every athlete and their abilities, I do not think you do. You have no idea who I am talking about, I gave an "example". Look up the definition.

You have misunderstood or misread my comments since you seem to enjoy taking everything out of context. I did not open up this subject, it was already started by someone else a few pages ago. So I am not the only one with this issue.

"Your Name is the Game" at the school...everywhere. That was the point we were trying to make. You seem to have missed that.

Not going further on this since now you are highlighting kids names here to get slammed next or put on a pedestal. I was not talking about Fisher. Plus as I said I did not know if Mr. Fisher was a coach but he is on the sidelines and at practices. Enough! Read detail.

Once you can list every athlete (JH and HS) over the last 2 years and inclusive of this year and what sports they play; girls and boys and please make sure you can critique their abilities with a rating (as you seem to know who is good and who is not and know every athlete in all sports), then you should let this go.

Go an start timing who is fast and who is not. Make sure to take the time to write it down, you will have a good years worth of work ahead of you before you can even critique others or put any above each other.

arod1112

Cheer coach isn't full time teacher;
Chris Capizzi is only ASSISTANT fb coach not head coach
Ms. Lewis JUNIOR HIGH volleyball coach not HS
PHS has head girls softball coach with 3 kids at school and coached his daughter on Varsity 3 years ago. You can make this case with any local school. I'd hardly call that A LOT of parent coaches as you claimed MLS.

ModernDayBootlegger

I can name 1 parent that coaches at the Varsity level who had 2 daughters play. His name is Greg Edinger, and anyone who ever watched them play knows that he "ran the show" as his girls were both the primary pitchers. He is also a VERY POOR sport, and is always yelling at the girls or an umpire.

He is also a major reason why the girls relay team that went to State no longer chose to play softball.

SargentB

Terrible decision on Mr. Faber, the one person with the most loyalty to SMCC. Not only was he a student, teacher, coach and administrator for athletics, he also motivated his students and student athletes to succeed. There are always some who don't see the good someone has done over the past 31+ years. LOYALTY this man has is undeniable.
Denny: good luck!!!!!!!!!
Just for the record, I was not one your supporters, but that has nothing to do with the excellent job you did. So again I say good luck and maybe we'll meet on the golf course for a relaxing round.

Dcfred20036

The Cleveland Plain Dealer online is linking back to this story!

pigeon farmer

Wonder if more abuse cases are pending?

JACKEL

Just remember if you are caught in one lie, everything you say from then on is untrustworthy !

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