Despite the impassioned -- and in some cases, tearful -- pleas of parents and students, the Grandview Heights school board unanimously approved band director Justin Hennig's resignation Tuesday, April 15.
More than 20 students and parents asked the board to reject Hennig's resignation and give him at least one more year as band director.
Mary Ann Stephens, a parent of fifth- and sixth-grade band participants, praised Hennig for being a "positive, encouraging and enthusiastic" teacher who cares about his students.
It was hard to believe that someone who displayed such enthusiasm leading his student musicians at the annual Cake Walk earlier this month would resign just a few days later, she said.
Noting that the board held a closed session at its March meeting to discuss an employee's status, Stephens said the April 9 announcement of Hennig's resignation seemed "unbelievably swift" and "pre-meditated" by his superiors who were forcing Hennig to leave.
The community deserves an explanation of why Hennig will not return as band director, she said.
High school band student Charlotte Gross said Hennig's departure "will be very devastating for the high school band program.
"There will be a huge drop in band participation," she said.
Gross said she has spoken to students who, like her, aren't sure whether they will return to band next year because they don't want to have to go through a transition to a new band director for the second year in a row.
Superintendent Ed O'Reilly said he spoke with Hennig before this week’s meeting and he confirmed his intention to resign.
"He explained his reasons (for resigning) and his desire for those reasons to remain private," O'Reilly said.
"I understood and accepted" Hennig's rationale for and his decision to resign, O'Reilly said.
Before its vote, the board went into a closed session.
When board members returned, they voted unanimously to accept Hennig's resignation.
The vote was being made "with reluctance," board member Adam Miller said.