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Pottsville News

TONE DEAF – Pottsville High Band Director Reportedly Reassigned, Public Outcry Ensues

pottsville band director fired

Hundreds of people joined a call Monday in support of Pottsville High School band director Craig N. Shoener.

He’s allegedly been replaced in that job after 7 years. And the public outcry largely suggests the move by school leaders is tone deaf.

According to a Facebook post by his son, John, Craig Shoener got notice Monday that the school found his replacement.

Instead of getting fired, the school apparently decided to re-assign Schoener to a job at DHH Lengel Middle School.

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Here’s the son’s Facebook post. It should be noted that the son is Band Director at Shenandoah Valley Junior/Senior High School:

He writes, “Reasons given to him were vague … only that that band will be going in a different direction.

“Please if you are able, send notes of support to the District Administration. This cannot be. He loves his students more than anything, and he loves his job! There really is no band like the PAHS Band, and the history of this wonderful organization is in jeopardy,” the younger Shoener adds.

If this decision sticks, it appears Shoener’s last duties as Band Director at Pottsville were commencement ceremonies last Friday.

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Shoener’s been on the job since 2012. He’s just the 6th band director at Pottsville High since 1929. That’s 90 years and just 6 directors. Shoener replaced Richard Fries, who served as Band Director at Pottsville Area from 1977 until 2012 … 35 years.

John Shoener urges the public to attend the next Pottsville Area School Directors meeting on June 19 at 7:30 p.m. in his post.

According to an online petition, Shoener is just 3 years away from retirement. So, the decision to replace him as Band Director for what appears to be a demotion seems off key.

That petition already has nearly 700 “signatures” by the time we hit the Publish button.

You can check out the petition and support it here.

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Questionable Pottsville Area Personnel Decisions

But that’s the beat Pottsville Area seems to march best to.

It’s not the first time the school got called on its hiring practices.

This makes you wonder just a little more what happens when these people go into executive sessions at school board meetings. Or if that’s really even where the decisions are being made.

Football Follies

It was just a few months ago when this same school board decided to open the position of Head Football Coach. That came after it was revealed that during the 2018 football season, something happened in the locker room that shouldn’t have.

The bizarre reaction from the school district landed them in federal court. One of the students accused of committing one of the acts alleged in that incident is suing the school for the way administration and the school board handled it.

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Pottsville did the worst possible job it could do finding a replacement for that dismissed coach. No one applied in the very short time the job was available. So, the school decided to re-hire the coach they previously determined did something wrong enough as part of that “hazing” incident to lose his job.

We’d say “in the end” here but that story hardly seems over, short of a settlement on the lawsuit. But in the end, one student appears to be carrying the burden for that incident alone. Meanwhile, the school put everyone else back in the positions where they started. Almost as if nothing has happened.

Wheels on the Bus

Prior to the football fiasco, a few years back the school board made a pretty high-profile hiring decision when it appointed a new Transportation Director whose husband served on the school board. A former school director blasted his colleagues back in 2014 over that decision and claimed the school’s hiring processes were flawed.


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  1. Mark

    June 12, 2019 at 7:18 am

    This school district is a dumpster fire. They go from bad decision to bad decision and never think things through before they act.

  2. Waynes

    June 12, 2019 at 8:39 am

    Shoener worked at north schuylkill for very many years, so he is very used to organizational dysfunction. He seemed to be one of the more normal ones they had there back in the day. Considering the most longtime ns band legend is currently in jail.

  3. Phoebe

    June 13, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    Very disappointed in what they did to mr. Shoener, that was just wrong. I think they need to evaluate all decision makers at PAHS.

  4. Cher Ann

    June 19, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    Lol everyone thinks Pottsville High is this amazing school that should be honored… Sorry, I just want to know what other skeletons are hiding in their supposed hollowed halls…just wait, this is just the little crack in the wall. But that is all it takes to bring a building down. And it is always the kids who suffer….. Stupid adults putting importants where it doesn’t belong!
    Grow up and stop living vicariously through these children!

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