His attorney, Justin O’Dell, said he has already filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Pastrick’s behalf and is currently waiting for the commission’s reply.
Pastrick, 37, was hired as the new football coach at South Cobb High School by Principal Ashley Hosey on March 21, but his employment was rescinded on April 18 by assistant superintendent Barbara Swinney.
Between those two dates, Pastrick, who also worked as an assistant coach at Hillgrove and McEachern high schools, said he resigned his position as head coach at Chapel Hill High School in Douglas County to begin work with the Eagles program immediately. He was given a key to the facilities at South Cobb, had begun putting together his coaching staff and filled out all necessary paper work to begin booster club fundraising.
O’Dell said the school district pointed to a December 2011 unsatisfactory evaluation Pastrick had been given for why he could not be hired, but O’Dell does not believe that to be the real reason.
“If I subpoena the employment files for every coach in Cobb County do you think there may be one more with an unsatisfactory evaluation?” O’Dell asked. “What (information) did Swinney get that principal (Hosey) did not?”
He said that is why he has filed the discrimination complaint.
“What else could it be?” O’Dell said.
Since South Cobb began playing football in 1952, only one of the 12 coaches that preceded Pastrick was black — Michael Youngblood, who was hired in the spring of 2013. Youngblood resigned after one season. After Swinney, who is black, disallowed Pastrick’s hire, Sherrod Rainge, an assistant coach at the school, was promoted and became the second black coach in the program’s history.
The Cobb School District was asked for comment, but communications director Jay Dillon said the district could not comment on specific personnel matters.
Unfortunately for Pastrick, all of this could have been avoided. When he applied for the job, Pastrick had to go online and fill out numerous pages of background information into the STAR — Strategic Applicant Recruitment — system. The system is used to aid the human relations department and flag potential issues with a candidate’s application.
Once an applicant’s information passes STAR, a human relations supervisor is supposed to approve it before a principal or a hiring manager begins the interview process.
“That is correct,” Dillon said. “That is the way the procedure is supposed to work.”
If the system worked the way it was intended, Pastrick would not have immediately resigned his position at Chapel Hill and would still be employed there today.
Instead, on March 27, six days after Pastrick started working without a contract, Cobb School District human resources started to take a closer look as his application, and a lengthy email conversation began between Tim Baker, the executive director of employment, Hosey and Swinney.
“Are you OK with hiring Geoff Pastrick as a PE Teacher?” Baker asked Swinney. “In 2011-2012, he received an overall unsatisfactory of (principal) Regina Montgomery at McEachern.”
Pastrick, while teaching special education students, did receive an unsatisfactory evaluation. McEachern assistant principal Ashley Campoli had stated in her report that there were problems with his lesson plans and tardiness. She also said Pastrick did not assume responsibility for professional growth, interact in a respectful, civil and professional manner with students, families, staff and school leaders and that he did not actively support the School Strategic Plan.
Pastrick said it was the first and only unsatisfactory evaluation he has had in 14 years of teaching and coaching, and that it was given to him on Dec. 21, 2011, more than a month (Nov. 11) after he turned in his letter of resignation to Montgomery. On the evaluation form signed by Pastrick, Montgomery and Campoli, Pastrick said “I don’t agree with this evaluation. I will be appealing with Cobb County Schools.”
He followed with a written rebuttal to the evaluation, dated Jan. 17, 2012. To date, Pastrick said his appeal has never been resolved.
Later, on the 27th, Swinney emailed Hosey asking if he had talked with Montgomery about Pastrick and his previous employment.
“Yes,” Hosey said. “She was the first person I spoke with. He was in Special Ed. We are using him in PE. I spoke to his current principal and athletic director as well.”
Fifteen days later, on April 7, Swinney asked Baker for a copy of Pastrick’s evaluation. The following day, Swinney told Hosey the district could not hire his new football coach.
“Hi Ashley!” Swinney said. “After reviewing the evaluation of Mr. Pastrick, I cannot approve of hiring this candidate. Please call me for further discussion. Thanks!”
Ten days later, Pastrick was relieved of his duties.
O’Dell said the Cobb County School District screwed up, but instead of sitting down with them to try and work out an amicable agreement, the district stonewalls them at each turn. They said this was why they filed the complaint.
“In a perfect world, (Pastrick) would be the head coach at South Cobb,” O’Dell said. The next best thing would be to find a position, any position coaching in the county, and then if a job opens up, allow him to interview for it.”
Pastrick remains unemployed. Efforts to find any coaching job have proved fruitless, including becoming a community coach, and he is currently weighing all options — including moving to a different county or out of state.
“I’ve come to the realization I’m not going to be coaching in the fall and that’s tough,” Pastrick said. “And I probably won’t be able to coach in Cobb County anymore.”