Second administrator exits Coatesville schools

Athletic director joins superintendent on list of sudden departures

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe turmoil continues: Less than a week after the abrupt retirement of the Coatesville Area School District (CASD) superintendent, the district’s high school athletic director has resigned, a school administrator said Tuesday.

James Donato, a former football coach at Kennett High School who became Coatesville’s athletic director in 2010, is no longer employed by the district, said Brian Chenger, principal of the 9-10 Center. Chenger said he did not know when Donato tendered his resignation. School employees said the athletic director had not been seen the first week of school, and he did not attend Saturday’s high school football game in York.

A representative of the district’s Human Resources department said that information about a resignation could only be released by the acting superintendent, who did not return phone or email inquiries. Board President J. Neil Campbell also did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Asked whether the District Attorney’s Office played any role in the sudden departure of the two administrators, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan declined to comment.

Former Superintendent Richard Como retired on Aug. 29, issuing a public statement that said after 42 years in education, about half of them in Coatesville, “the timing is right.” His resignation became effective four days later. Assistant Superintendent Angelo Romaniello Jr. has assumed Como’s duties on a temporary basis while the board conducts a nationwide search for a new superintendent, a district news release said.

Asked about both Como and Donato, school board solicitor James Ellison repeatedly said, “I can’t comment on personnel issues.” He said the board released Como’s resignation letter only because Como authorized its release. “We didn’t analyze the truthfulness of his claims,” Ellison said in response to suggestions that members of the public did, fueling speculation. “There are always rumors; that’s just the cost of doing business,” he said.

Ellison said the search for Como’s replacement would begin shortly.

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