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Jonathan Alder softball coach will be back for another year
Jonathan Alder High School softball coach, Tony Caldwell, was criticized a month ago by parents and former players. He has since won praise from other coaches and parents and earned the support of the school board.
Caldwell, winner of the Central District Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award from the Ohio High School Fast Pitch Softball Association, was rehired by the Jonathan Alder Board of Education at its July 13 meeting.
“We got a lot of support for Tony,” said board member Steve Votaw shortly before the board cast a 4-0 vote to rehire Caldwell. Board President Linda Beachy was absent.
“I want everybody to know we got letters and e-mail from both sides,” Votaw told an audience of about 35 parents, students and school staff members.
Board member Dr. John Adams thanked the community for coming forward to talk with the board about the coach.
At the July 13 meeting, five people spoke about Caldwell, four in his support, including Bishop Ready Softball Coach Nick Joseph who nominated Caldwell for the Central District honor.
“It’s a great environment at Jonathan Alder,” Joseph said. “He knows what he is doing and does it right. I don’t know anyone who does it as well. That’s why I nominated him for the award.”
Beth Day praised Caldwell for the work he did to develop her daughter, Jessica, into an award-winning player. Jessica, who plays shortstop and catches, made the all-Ohio Central District Underclassmen All-Star Team.
Day said the complaints lodged by others last month disappointed her.
“He’s a human being but he deserves our respect,” she said. “I have not always agreed with him and at times have wanted to yank my daughter off the team. When I had a problem, when things did not go as they should, I could always discuss it with Tony Caldwell.”
Sherry Hamm, the mother of a former player and one coming up who wants to play softball, characterized Caldwell as one who supports those in the feeder program.
“He’s the only (coach) I’ve every seen who supported the lower level,” she said. “It’s really neat to see him at their games.”
Debbie Foster, whose daughter has played on a traveling team, also supported the coach and said her daughter wants to play for him when she gets to high school.
The lone dissenter was Chris Curry who said she was not happy with the way her daughter had been treated.
“He tried to destroy her confidence and self esteem,” Curry said.
She said her daughter left the team after three years although she continues to play at the club level. Curry said her daughter didn’t get the instruction she needed. She also said that she talked with her daughter after her exit interview from the team and learned her daughter “was afraid of the ball.”
“How can someone who has played since the third grade suddenly be afraid of the ball?” she asked.
Caldwell was one of 33 people for whom the board awarded contracts for the 2009-10 school year.
Also among the 33 was Chris Piper who was given a three-year contract to be principal at Canaan Middle School. Piper, the assistant high school principal and boys athletic director, replaces Bobby Moore who is now superintendent of Mechanicsburg Schools.
Piper will no longer be athletic director and said interviews are being conducted to find his replacement.
In a report to the board, Tolles Career & Technical Center Superintendent Carl Berg said the school will enroll about 660 students this fall, including 93 from Jonathan Alder.
The center offers curriculum in 19 subject areas and serves 11 high schools. Hilliard Davidson sends the most students to the center with 110 going this fall. Jonathan Alder has the second highest enrollment.
The most popular course of study, Berg said, is the health academy with 119 students enrolled for the coming year. One of the courses that is growing is computer science, he said, attributing it to animation.
“Some of the techniques they do are pretty neat for high school students.”
Berg said this spring’s Tolles graduates earned $680,000 in scholarships. Of that, $208,500 went to Jonathan Alder students.
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