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Fired or retired? Sister Jerome: ‘It’s not pleasant’



Published: Thu, June 7, 2012 @ 12:08 a.m.

photo

Sister Jerome Corcoran addresses an audience at Millcreek Children’s Center in Youngstown to welcome Michele D. Grant as the center’s new executive director. Grant resigned as director a month later. Sister Jerome, 96, continued as director, but she was notified in late May that she was no longer head of the school she founded.

By Denise Dick

denise_dick@vindy.com

Youngstown

After 35 years, Sister Jerome Corcoran is out as the head of Millcreek Children’s Center.

Sister Jerome says she was fired May 25.

“They sent two board members with a document saying I was retiring, effective immediately,” she told The Vindicator on Wednesday, declining to identify the board members.

No reason was given. She said she left quietly without saying goodbye to anyone.

“The ones who were friends are friends,” Sister Jerome said.

Sister Jerome, 96, founded the center in 1976 as a preschool serving the children of lower-income working parents. Youngstown Community School opened next door in 1998. It’s a charter school for children in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Board members of Sister Jerome’s Schools Inc. issued a statement Wednesday offering few details about Sister Jerome’s departure.

“Each member of the Board has the utmost love and admiration for Sr. Jerome,” the statement emailed by Atty. Martha L. Bushey, board member, said. “We are extremely grateful for the school she created for this community. Our only intent was to do the best we could for Sr. Jerome, the students and their families, the staff and the community.”

Mary Jane Gingher will fill the director’s role.

“She is an excellent leader, a competent manager and a great team builder,” the statement says. “We all realize how difficult it will be to replace Sr. Jerome.”

It provides no further information.

“Out of respect for Sr. Jerome we will not discuss any details,” the statement says.

Sister Jerome says she’s not angry about the decision.

“I’m a tough old bird,” she said. “This is an event. It’s not pleasant, but there are many things — even in our environment here — that are much worse.”

Gingher is the third person appointed, other than Sister Jerome, to lead the center since November 2010.

About two years ago, Sister Jerome planned to retire from the executive director’s position.

The board announced in November 2010 that Michele Grant, a former associate director of development at the Rich Center for Autism, had been appointed the center’s new leader.

A month later, Grant resigned, and no explanation was publicized.

Earlier this year, Patricia Sweeney was appointed the center’s director. She served three months but resigned and became the health commissioner for the Mahoning County District Board of Health.

Sweeney, contacted on Wednesday, declined to discuss her reasons for leaving the center except to say it was her decision.

Sister Jerome said she made an error in not finding her replacement herself.

“I made the mistake of letting other people do it,” she said.

Those people don’t know what the job involves, the sister said.

Her latest replacement has only a high-school diploma and no experience but will earn $60,000 per year plus benefits, Sister Jerome said.

She said she wouldn’t talk about anything that happened between her and the board leading up to being told to retire on the advice of her attorney.

“I love Millcreek,” Sister Jerome said. “I don’t want anything to get worse than it is.”

She said she’ll continue to help families in need — people who can’t afford bus passes to get to doctor’s appointments or to pay for the prescriptions.

“Everything that’s horrible, down the line you can see some light. You really can — no matter how bad the thing is,” Sister Jerome said.


Comments

1gingerspice(115 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Sister Jerome, you know your GOD will take things that seem like a negative and turn it into a positive! "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in this world!" Thank You for all you've done and going to do!! May GOD continue to Bless YOU!

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2youngstownsteve(75 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

May God bless Sr Jerome for her many years of tireless service! Thank you!

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3ojanet22(134 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

It's about time! What took them so long? Only the people that work or worked there know what she is really like underneath that facade of holier than thou!

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4rgp2585(68 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

ojanet22 _ I hope you enjoy your trip South!!

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5kensgirl(603 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Thank you Sr. Jerome - you're a nice Irish girl and I know God will certainly take care of you whatever you decide to do. God bless!

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6UNCOMMONSENSE(365 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

ojanet22...if only you had one ounce of the positive attitude Sr. Jerome has you would be a much better person.

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7Rick360(3 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

No one disputes the results of Sr. Jerome's tireless work on behalf of students and their families in Youngstown for all these decades. She is justly celebrated for her incalculable contributions.

However, history is filled with individuals who achieve greatness but fall short of personal grace. I am only one of a great many who I'm sure can testify to the great difficulty of working with someone with her "my way or the highway" attitude, and the futility of pleasing her despite making every possible effort.

I suspect that those around her finally reached the point where bending over backwards broke them in two.

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8ytowner2010(7 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Really psyker99?? That was 60 years ago--get over it already. Talk to your public school counterparts from that era and beyond; public schools were still paddling kids when I was in grade school in the 80s. As for Sr. Jerome--people just love to weigh in on stuff they have no idea about don't they? And if it doesn't affect you it's probably not any of your business. And whether you're for it or against it the continued focus only hurts the program and the children it seeks to serve.

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9Rick360(3 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

ytowner2010:

"That was 60 years ago--get over it already."

"And if it doesn't affect you it's probably not any of your business."

Absolutely astounding that you don't see the contradiction in these two statements of yours. It's so easy to tell someone to "get over it" when it didn't happen to you. Tell me...are you prepared to look the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of pedophile priests in the eye and tell them to "get over it"?

psyker99's comments are right on the money. My elementary school was right up the street from a Catholic elementary school. I would take a route home that was out of my way rather than a more direct one that took me past that school. Why? Because I knew its students would pounce upon me and beat the s**t out of me for no reason if I passed their way. I understand now that there WAS a reason...they had learned how to do this at the hands of experts — the nuns who were beating them.

"As for Sr. Jerome--people just love to weigh in on stuff they have no idea about don't they? "

Some undoubtedly do; however, my earlier comment about Sr. Jerome was based on direct, personal experience. I have two colleagues whose experience with her was exactly the same.

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10endthismess(307 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

psyker99 has hit it SQUARE on the head. Many nuns acted and were trained to be like mean,hateful, twisted, intimidating czars with rulers hidden up their sleeves. And....there was absolutley NO reasoning or looking back at them. The earned their reputation well, all of them. They reminded me of the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz in their black habits, flying around everytime they went past your desk. Just hateful and down right mean to the bone. The younger the nuns were, the worse thery were. To this day, I cannot stand to drive past and look at St. Rose School in Girard. Brings back nothing but bad, sad memories. Now,,,,St. Edwards on Benita, a way more pleasant experience. Those nuns were as sweet as could be. Sr. Jerome...stepped up to the job when no one else would. Sister will never be replaced. No one could know what it took to get that school to grow over the years and remain in tact while over coming the bad reputation Essex St. had when it was reduced to nothing more than a street over run with drug dealers. SHE made it all happen, so let's not foregt this. I know way too much about 88 Essex, my family use to live on Essex, and finally gave up and had to move from the neighborhood many years ago.

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11cambridge(3010 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

I don't have any first hand information on Sister Jerome so I have no comment regarding her.

I did go to catholic school and I believe I sat behind psyker99 the whole time. I had nun's that were maniacs. The nun in charge of the alter boys was the worst. She would beat us with coat hangers.

Another time at an assembly I by accident knocked a piece of chalk from the chalk board behind me. I bent over and placed if back and when I turned around this nun hit me with a perfect three punch combination. She just appeared like a ninja. The next year she punched a kid and he punched her back and they ended up rolling around on the ground. It was nuts.

I had a nun that was smoke'n hot, that used to pass pictures of herself before she was a nun around the classroom. She was our only teacher and she would spend days in the teacher lounge and never come in the classroom. She had sever mental problems.

It would be impossible to mention how many rulers and pointers I got smacked with or slaps in the face. If their idea was turning me into the least religious person I know they succeeded. All of my feelings towards that religion and my time with priests and nuns is negative. Everything I mentioned was in grade school. They were mean people taking their frustrations with their own lives out on little kids.

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12Socker(3 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

All of these posts are ranting about how nuns and priests have affected them as a student. But what this article is about is how this nun thinks she was treated unfairly. Really? I have first hand knowledge of the way she treated her staff. Does the article say why the past two executives left? How about she drove them out! Does it say anywhere in there that she has started to have memory problems? She's 96! Who wouldn't ?
The fact that in the last 6 years that place has gone through more than 40 employees?
Psyker- it is not a catholic school. Just started by a catholic nun. Yes, Sister Jerome has helped many people. Yes, she devoted all of her time to building this school up, some good does not outweigh the bad.

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13BigJim2234(57 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Problem is simple....sister did not kiss the $ people's asses the way they needed it kissed....in todays and age $ talks and many decades of great service walks....the people who were responsible for this will be lucky to have people say 1 nice thing about them when they pass...sister's legacy will live forever! What she started is greater than any amount of $ can build.

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14Education_Voter(858 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

For people who think psyker should "get over" her experiences of 60 years ago.

60 years ago, Sister Jerome was already 36 years old.

I think that the Board is trying to ease a way to the future without hurting Sr. Jerome's feelings. Sr. Jerome is a great fundraiser from $$ people, Jim. Don't think they are the problem here.

In fact, that might be a good future road for her. She could serve in an auxiliary way, raising money for good causes.

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