In the early morning hours of Oct. 29, the Sparta Township school board approved the resignation of high school English teacher Celia Kate Brennan.
The board voted 8-0 to ratify her resignation, which goes into effect June 30, 2022. School board member Robert Zywicki was absent from the meeting.
School board president Kim Bragg said Zywicki was dealing with a tragedy in the Mount Olive School District, where he is superintendent.
Before accepting Brennan’s resignation, the board approved a settlement agreement with an employee designated by number 2189. It was unclear if the settlement was with Brennan.
For the second straight month, a steady wave of students spoke for about an hour about the positive effect Brennan has had on their lives. They said their piece before the executive session.
Many of those players were on the lacrosse team that Brennan coached. They wore their practice jerseys to the meeting as a show of unity.
Kate Ryan, a member of the team, said when a player steps on the field with them, they become part of the family.
“Coach Brennan has taught me many things, ranging from respect of different point of views, friendship and team bond,” Kate said. “If Sparta lacrosse doesn’t have coach Brennan this year, it will deeply affect all of us lacrosse, but you can’t take away all that she has taught us and done for us.”
Norah Monaghan, a senior at Sparta High School and a member of the girls’ lacrosse team since she was a freshman said Brennan has taught gratitude and strength, respect and said she is irreplaceable as a coach and teacher.
Norah also took both of Brennan’s English classes
“She has taught me important lessons about life that have shaped me into the person I am today,” she said.
Speakers at the Sept. 29 school board meeting suggested that Brennan was allegedly suspended over her teaching of the novel “Ghost Boys,” a 2018 novel by Jewell Parker Rhodes about a 12-year-old Black boy who is fatally shot by a police officer.
School officials have denied that the book was banned, but no explanation was given for Brennan’s resignation.
“We need to know why our best educator and our school’s best support system isn’t here,” Sparta High School student Colin Kowalski said.
“Coach Brennan has taught me many things, ranging from respect of different point of views, friendship and team bond. If Sparta lacrosse doesn’t have coach Brennan this year, it will deeply affect all of us lacrosse, but you can’t take away all that she has taught us and done for us.” Kate Ryan