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

Tsu Dho Nimh

Wonder if Wikel regrets taking this position? He should have stayed with public education: better pay and less politics.

beachbabe

How is this breaking news? Mr Savona went back to his Alma Mater. Big Surprise. Next topic...

Pantherfan

LOL.

Because you know why. Good attempt at deflecting. Not gonna work.

Mike Savona is a great guy, and a few of those Board members made Mike miserable.

He didn't "retire". It's unfortunate he felt he needed to get out. He was/is a good person.

And as far as Denny Faber is concerned, we all know the Board members he is talking about...

As someone who sits in the stands and donates to the school, I am so sorry for the way you were treated as you headed into retirement.

You deserved a lot more respect than you received...

Tyrion

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

k9unit

...and did this same board member tell her so called friends that she basically voted herself in by voting on parishioners ballots that werent voted on? Then got her friend elected the same way? Its time she goes along with a few others! The lies need to stop!

Holding Court

-she was "elected" after her "friend" was "elected".

sugar

By George I think you've got it! And 2 others. We know who you are, resign please. You do not embody the values we expect.

Another Day

Mike Savona's 5 yr contract was up. I agree a good person, but he did nothing to stop the havoc inside the school with the problem teachers. They ran the school and still do. These are the people who need to be held accountable for the destruction of the school. Why do you think all the administration over the last 8 years has jumped ship. So they will get what they want total control of nothing.

Tigress

You are so right Another Day!!!!! Thank you for posting this as it is so true!

sugar

This comment should follow Beachbabes. Seriously? Get your head out of your azz.

mikeylikesit

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

mikeylikesit

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

JACKEL

Mikey, now quit it.

holysee

cathode leak

MrsCowboy

More free entertainment, watching the house come crumbling down

God Of Thunder

Gee... How can the board be scrutinized??? Aren't they sworn to uphold the teachings of the catholic faith???? Isn't that what they are doing is just following the laws of the catholic church???

whattheBucks

I wish they would give the board members names

sugar

We know who they are.

whattheBucks

I have known Mr Faber for over 30 years, you will never find a more loyal and dedicated person. SCCS has become such an awful joke to the community and the whole catholic religion / community ! I am embarrassed to admit I have ties with them. They are the perfect example of how to do things wrong over and over and over again, if SCCS is wondering why your student body is so low, just look around and see how unethical and disrespectful you treat your own people. You should totally embarrassed.

Perkins Resident

Father Quinn and Sister Bernita would never stand for this!

sugar

Lol, Father Quinn was only interested in who had money to donate and who could supply him with booze.

Perkins Resident

Lol my point exactly lol!

Dcfred20036

LOL, Lord have mercy!

TheScientist

Sr Bernita would just roller skate and play her accordion, oblivious to all...

Perkins Resident

I think Sr Patricia could take Sr Bernita. Just my opinion.

Dcfred20036

Was Sister Bernita the English teacher, way back 30 some years ago?

richrs

Yes she was. Liked her a lot. She managed to get me to read classics.

Perkins Resident

Yes, that would be her!

Dcfred20036

You know, there was a time when St. Mary encouraged critical thinking and its students to question much!

richrs

Sr. Bernita, the roller skating nun.

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