BEDFORD, N.Y. – As 2012 draws to a close, The Daily Voice is recapping some of the biggest stories of the past year.
Fox Lane High School girls basketball coach Ayo Hart appeared before the Bedford Central School District Board of Education at its Jan. 25 meeting to urge the trustees to reconsider her termination.
District Athletic Director Beth Staropoli pulled Hart out on Jan. 17 in the middle of the 2011-2012 season, replacing her with Fox Lane English teacher Kristopher Matts.
Hart said Staropoli told her that her dedication to the team was in question because she had to miss a basketball game due to a job commitment, a business trip for Dolphin Organics, her and husband Nigel's natural baby care products company.
Hart had worked with the team for 11 seasons, her first two years as an assistant and her final nine as head coach.
“My outrage, to be honest, was the fact I was yanked from the team midseason, as if I had somehow been dangerous to the children," Hart said at the meeting.
Superintendent Jere Hochman said the decision was based on Staropoli's "supervision and observations," and any rumors that the decision was based on personal opinion were unfounded.
Hart is now the assistant varsity basketball coach at Mount Vernon High School. The Pound Ridge mother of young twin girls Madison and Victoria also spends her time volunteering at Northern Westchester Hospital and Friends of Karen.
Members of the girls basketball community at Fox Lane created a petition calling for the board to reassess Hart's dismissal based on Staropoli's assessment.
According to the statement on the petition website: "Many of her players and their parents, as well as those who have engaged with Coach Hart personally and professionally, do not agree with this assessment, but were not asked how we felt before the Board voted on 1/25."