Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, that the Board approves the return dates of the staff on administrative leave with pay of the following employees listed below:
a. Employee ID number 54177 effective November 8, 2021 with a return date of December 17, 2021.
b. Employee ID number 29750 effective November 8, 2021 with a return date of December 17, 2021.
c. Employee ID number 66358 effective November 8, 2021 with a return date of December 17, 2021.
Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, that the Board approves the termination of Employee ID number 65465 effective December 16, 2021.
Above are four action items from the Asbury Park School Board’s December public meeting. While the employees–one “terminated” (fired), three taken off “administrative leave,” or reinstated– aren’t named, everyone in Asbury Park knows the Employee ID numbers signify the four staff members who were abruptly put on administrative leave because head football coach Nick Famularo was found partially clothed and inebriated with a woman (not a student) on the football field. Once apprised of the incident, Superintendent Rashawn Adams, in a victory of vengeance over common sense, suspended not only Famularo but also two other coaches–assistant coaches Matt Ardizzone and Lamar Davenport–and District Athletic Director Mark Gerbino.
The community was aghast.
“What troubles me the most is it doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said Asbury Park teacher Sean O’Scanlon.
“The investigation into the two coaches I represent and the athletic director is a witch hunt,” Asbury Park Education Association President John Napolitani said. “Bring them back.”
“If two people were not there, why are they suspended?” community organizer Tracy Rogers said, in a plea for transparency. “It’s putting a black eye on our community.”
Relevant here is in Gerbino applied for the position of superintendent when Sancha Gray resigned to join her former boss, Lamont Repollet, at Kean University. In a survey conducted by the Asbury Park Education Association, before the School Board declined to interview anyone but Adams, staff members overwhelmingly chose Gerbino as their first choice and Adams as their last choice.
At the time of the suspensions, Napolitani also noted, “There is absolutely no reason the two assistant coaches and the athletic director should be suspended.” Then again, Adams, I’ve been told, is guided less by rational thought than by spite.
In recommending to the Board that it reinstate Gerbino, Ardizzone, and Davenport (Famularo was fired) Adams concedes his hysteria, as well as his failure to follow due process. (One could also quote Sayre’s Law: “Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low.”)
Why our attention to the minutiae of a school board meeting? Because there’s more to this story than one instance of Adams pushing the panic button. Stay tuned.