Johnstown Independent

Johnstown-Monroe

School board terminates Cleveland; Jakeway set to retire

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The Johnstown-Monroe Board of Education voted unanimously May 20 to terminate varsity baseball head coach Anthony Cleveland.

Cleveland resigned May 9 following a May 6 incident during a home game against Loudonville, but his resignation was rejected, according to board president Amy Ramey.

"The board voted unanimously to deny the resignation and then put forth a resolution terminating Anthony Cleveland in other business of the board," Ramey told ThisWeek. "That was a unanimous approval for termination.

Ramey said comments related to the board's vote occurred behind closed doors.

"All baseball comments were done in executive session due to the issues dealing with personnel and students," Ramey said.

She said all board members and the administration agreed to not discuss publicly the circumstances that led to Cleveland's dismissal, hoping to protect the privacy of all involved.

"An incident that occurred on the field led the board to decide to terminate him," interim Superintendent Thomas Slater said.

He said Cleveland's position likely wouldn't be replaced until December or January.

"The whole situation is just really unfortunate," board vice president Jim Dodderer said. "I don't think any one person is solely to blame."

Dodderer said he hopes everyone involved could learn from the situation and move forward with their lives.

"I don't know what the learning experience is for the kids," he said. "It's just totally unfortunate."

Assistant coach Todd Sammons took over for the remainder of Johnstown's season, which included a 5-4 loss to West Jefferson in the first round of Division III district tournament play May 14.

Another departure -- though it was expected -- involves Johnstown High School Kim Jakeway, who is retiring.

Jakeway was the athletics director when Dodderer attended Johnstown High School.

"He's a very special person," Dodderer said. "He's been an influence on my life. The whole Jakeway family has been a positive influence on the community."

Jakeway said his decision didn't come easily.

"It was a very difficult decision to make," said Jakeway, whose last day on the job is May 31. "I hate to see it end. We have an excellent staff that made my job easy."

He said changes in the State Teachers Retirement System made it financially unwise for him to continue as principal.

"It's just money out of my pocket," Jakeway said.

He said he has spent 33 years of his life in education, including 26 years in the Johnstown-Monroe district and eight years as principal.

Jakeway said the decision to retire occurred so quickly that he hasn't had time to think about what he would do as a retiree.

"I haven't given it any thought. The doors are open," he said, adding that he might contact the local educational service center to let its staff know he's available to fill temporary positions if needed.

Jakeway said his favorite memory of being principal involves the district's student achievement and how hard the students and staff have worked together to excel.

Ramey said Jakeway's successor has not been chosen. She said the principal's position would be posted with interviews to follow.

"I want to thank Kim Jakeway for all of his years of service to the district and his love of our students," Ramey said. "I expect to see him often and hope his retirement is happy and full of joy."

ThisWeek staff writer Scott Hennen contributed to this story.

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