Greensburg Diocese's school chief out
By Craig Smith
Published: Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, 11:45 a.m.
Parents and supporters of a popular Greensburg Central Catholic principal hope the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg will rethink her ouster, now that the superintendent who fired her is no longer in that post.
Trent Bocan, who became superintendent of schools in August 2006 and set off a firestorm this fall by ousting Denise Myers, is “no longer superintendent” as of Dec. 5, according to a statement issued on Friday by Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt.
“I hope they would reconsider bringing Denise back,” said supporter Jim Pevarnik of Latrobe.
Bocan said in a statement that he “has given all that I can to the Diocese of Greensburg” and his ambitions are leading in a different direction, “more focused on traditional educational leadership and supporting classroom learning.”
Myers, the former principal at Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School in Carbon, was placed on administrative leave in September, pending an internal investigation into “financial irregularities,” and fired in October, according to diocese officials.
Students protested her dismissal and joined with parents and alumni in prayer services and fundraising efforts to help pay her legal bills. A recent fundraiser collected more than $6,000.
“It was standing-room-only,” said Susan Catalano of Penn Township. “We still support Mrs. Myers 100 percent, and (she) still supports our kids.”
An online petition signed by 400 people said Myers, who was part of the school for almost 13 years, “dedicated her time and effort to make Central the best it can be. ... What is being done to her is unfair and unjust.”
A group calling itself Concerned Parents, through a petition on change.org, asked Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, Brandt and the Rev. Larry Kulick, vicar general, to investigate Bocan.
Parents reached for comment on Friday didn't hide their emotions about the issue.
“Best Christmas present ever,” said Jennifer Scalise of Unity.
“It's a positive move for the school,” said Darrin Taormina of North Huntingdon.
Brandt said in a statement that Bocan, who was born in McKeesport and oversaw 19 schools in four counties, was removed from the job he held for seven years so that an outside consulting firm can conduct an independent study of the “prospective restructuring of the Office for Catholic Schools as well as the role and duties of the superintendent.”
The diocese would not comment beyond the statement because it involved a personnel issue, said spokesman Jerry Zufelt.
Myers, who has not been charged with a crime, could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, Michael Healey, did not return a reporter's phone calls. Zufelt also declined to discuss her case.
The diocese has begun negotiations with Meitler, a Milwaukee-based consulting firm, to speak to constituents and evaluate its school system, it said.
“Bishop Brandt considers it of paramount importance for the good of Catholic education in our diocese that we move forward together to facilitate the emergence of a new high school governance structure as well as a reorganization of the Office for Catholic Schools in a way which represents fairly the individual educational communities involved,” his statement said.
Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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