DeKalb Central reassigns show choir director

The DeKalb Central Untied School District announced it is searching for a new director for Show Choir and Theater Director Wednesday.

Posted: Apr. 11, 2018 11:33 PM
Updated: Apr. 12, 2018 2:01 PM

WATERLOO, Ind. (WFFT) - The show choir director at DeKalb High School is being reassigned.

The DeKalb Central Untied School District announced it is searching for a new director for Show Choir and Theater Director Wednesday.

In the statement, the district said it decided to move into a new direction.

The statement said "The change in leadership was a result of lack of institutional control over the program and failure to follow school policies and directives."

The move has caused an uproar on social media.

Students past and present are worried about what the program will look like without the people who built it.

"I'm really sad to see her go for my senior year. Just having that taken away really sucks." Junior Kendyl Smith said show choir is more than just song and dance.

"Kent and Shelley aren't teaching you to a test or it's just about learning the skills so you pass the AP exam. They are about teaching you for life," she said.

Kent and Shelley Johnson were in charge of many choirs, including the Classic Connection and Sound Sensation.

DeKalb Central said in a statement they made the decision because a lack of control over the program and school polices were broken.

"So many are hurt by this," said Smith.

"It was heart breaking to see everyone like wow this is really happening," said Austin Osterhout, Senior.

Osterhout said the four years he spent in show choir under the Johnsons has helped in so many ways.

"They bring out what's best in you. They try to build you up with confidence and show you that you're special, his is why you're special and we'll show you're special," he said.

The husband wife team was hired for the show choir in the 80s, winning many awards along the way.

"There's never been a more successful program that's ever existed at DeKalb High School and DeKalb Central School than our show choir program. That's because of Shelley and Kent," said Justin Sassanella.

Sassanella graduated from DeKalb High School in 2001 after spending four years in show choir.

He now is touring with his show, Forever Young.

The show is partly his story on how Shelley and Kent Johnson helped shape his career.

"They are good at enabling their students to follow their dreams and follow their passions. I realized my true love was music," said Sassanella.

Now, Smith is worried what the program she grew up in will look like.

"They have so many people they bring in to help us. Those people are all connected to Kent and Shelley. When they're gone, all those people are gone," said Smith.

Superintendent Steve Teders told FOX 55 Shelley Johnson will still have a job with the district next year, just won't be with the show choir.

There is an online petition suppporting the Johnsons.

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