Capital School District Superintendent Dr. Michael Thomas said the decision to transfer popular teacher Bob Healy was about creating a stronger sense of community at Dover High School, not about nepotism.
Healy has been a physical education teacher at Dover and other district schools since he resigned as the Senators’ lacrosse coach eight years ago to become the Sallies lacrosse coach.
But that changed last month when Healy found out he was being transferred against his will to William Henry Middle School, where Thomas’ son Colin teaches physical education, according the school’s website.
Colin Thomas is also the offensive coordinator for the Dover High football team, which made it to the state tournament semifinals last fall.
Thomas refuted claims by some in the community that Healy’s transfer was an act of nepotism done to make way for Colin.
Exactly who would replace Healy at Dover High is not set in stone, Dr. Thomas said. Thomas said there are several people coaching multiple sports at Dover High that teach in Capital but not at Dover High, the flagship school, he said.
Thomas would like to change that.
“Why would we not want them at the high school?” Thomas said. “Obviously, Colin Thomas is one of them. He’s an employee of the Capital School District. We have several people that coach multiple sports that want to get to the high school.
“We have to have people at Dover High School that want to coach at Dover High School, not kids at another school,” he said. “It’s not fair to our kids; it’s not fair to our school.”
Thomas said he was simply accommodating former Dover High Principal Eugene Montaño’s request over several years to transfer teachers to the school that also coached at the school.
Healy did not return calls seeking comment for this article. But during the July 18 meeting of the school board, he had plenty to say.
“I have 17 years of outstanding observations,” Healy had said. “I have a great rapport with the students and staff. … On June 7, I was pulled out of a final [exam] and handed a letter. They told me I was being involuntarily transferred to William Henry Middle School.
Page 2 of 2 - “And the reason for this action is that we were placing employees at Dover High School that are willing to coach at the school. I coached at Dover High School for 10 years,” he said. “I haven’t coached for eight years and in those eight years I’ve never been asked to coach again [at Dover].”
A dozen former students, colleagues and parents at the Capital Board of Education testified to Healy’s effectiveness at the July meeting. He also led the Sallies lacrosse team to its second straight boys’ state championship this past spring – the fourth in six years.
Healy also led the Senators to the state tournament each year he was the head coach, and he has served as a volunteer assistant football coach at Wesley College, his alma mater.
Healy’s transfer has been of concern to several within the Capital community, including Dover High parents Michael and Kay Conaway.
“Anyone that we are associated with will tell you that we are CSD’s biggest fans and constantly sing the praises of the high academic standards the district sets,” Michael and Kay Conaway wrote in a letter to the Dover Post. “We are writing to express our deep concern about recent decisions and attempts to make certain that coaches teach at the high school. This says that CSD is putting athletics above academics.
“Nepotism is something that should not be tolerated, but especially in a publicly funded entity,” the Conaways added.
Thomas said that was not so.
“I don’t even deal with transfers,” he said. “They’re done through the principals and the personnel office. There’s nothing hidden in this; it’s very clear.
“The union has not disputed the transfer of Mr. Healy; we violated nothing in the contract and have made the reassignment correctly. I just want to put this in context.”
Healy’s transfer will be part of the monthly personnel report reviewed by the school board during the closed door, executive session scheduled for Aug. 15.