Report by Paula Antolini
May 18, 2018 9:45AM EDT
Photo: Mr. Damon Coachmen on the Bethel High School field in 2015. (Bethel Advocate file photo 2015.)
BPS Superintendent Dr. Carver Confirms That BHS Music Teacher Mr. Coachman Has Resigned
5-18-18 UPDATE to “BREAKING NEWS: Bethel High School Music Teacher Is Put On ‘Leave Of Absence’ With No Reason Given” from April 10, 2018
Bethel Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Dr. Christine Carver has confirmed that Bethel High School (BHS) music teacher Mr.Damon Coachman has resigned.
There was a meeting held on May 14, 2018, with BPS Superintendent Dr. Christine Carver, BHS Principal Mr. Christopher Troetti and Band Boosters, in which this announcement was learned.
Carver said, “I can confirm that Mr. Coachman did resign and the Bethel Public Schools are absolutely committed to the Band and HS music program. We did speak at the meeting to continuing our commitment to financially supporting the program as was outlined with the Booster Parents a few years ago. We will include our Booster Parents in the process of selecting a new Band Director.”
On April 10, 2018, Bethel High School (BHS) administrators Principal Christopher M. Troetti, Associate Principal Gary Lawlor and Assistant Principal Mari Lerz sent a notice to parents and guardians informing them that BHS orchestra/music teacher, Mr. Damon Coachman, was put on leave of absence, but no reason was given. This teacher’s “leave of absence” came right after administrators issued an extensive list of music wing rules on April 5th with only one sentence explaining why this action was done. (View article here.)
The following updated information was posted on social media on May 15, 2018, by Marika Gutzman, a BHS alumni:
“Hi everybody. Last night Mr Troetti and Dr Carver held a meeting with the Band Boosters. Mr Coachman has resigned.
“The administration will be looking for personnel and working toward the least disruptive transition they can manage. Boosters will be involved in selecting the new marching band coordinator/director.
“This means that anyone in the area who can help out with the concert is extra-needed. The students are understandably emotional and their substitute teachers obviously can’t know the band program too well.
“Edit: The administration emphasized many times how committed they are to the program and both administrators said there’s basically an open checkbook for the program right now. The Boosters are being compensated for expenses in the past year also.”
In a previous Facebook post on May 2, 2018, by A. J. Polaski, a BHS alumni, said:
“First on your minds, I’m sure, is the status of Mr. Coachman. As many of you know, he has been suspended from his position for an unknown time, for undisclosed reasons. However, we can probably expect to hear an update directly from the administration next week. Regardless of how this is communicated to the general public, I will be sure to post that information here in this group. I have not heard anything from Mr. Coachman directly.
“Secondly, the alumni concert, as I understand, is NOT being postponed or cancelled. Those who have prepared their music for the concert will still be permitted to perform as alumni alongside the students, as originally planned. I believe alumni are being asked to volunteer some of their time to help out in this tough and busy situation the music department is experiencing, but I will provide more details on this soon.
“Given these first two items, my next post will be a poll. I know seeing Mr. Coachman is a top reason for why many of you want to return for this occasion. This poll will ask if you still intend to perform in this concert even if Mr. Coachman will not be there for any reason.
“In Mr. Coachman’s absence, the responsibilities of the symphonic and jazz band have been split.
“Jazz band will be coordinated by Mr. Doble (many of you have had him for middle school band). We do not know the music that Mr. Coachman had planned for jazz band. All we know is that a fellow alumnus has been composing a piece themselves for the occasion. I will update on this matter as information is made available to me.
“Symphonic band is currently being run by Mr. Baumer, a current teacher at the high school, and the concert itself may be conducted by WCSU professor Mr. Gawle. I have not had a chance to reach out to these two yet, but will be doing so shortly.
“Please message me with any questions or post them below. I am in direct contact with Mr. Troetti and Mr. Doble, and will soon be in contact with Mr. Coachman, Mr. Baumer, and Mr. Gawle.
“Any BHS staff with corrections to this post, please message me directly so I may edit it.
“PS – Everyone please answer the poll!”
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