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Holmes: ‘I’m ready to move on’

A long-time Dawson-Bryant employee who recently resigned and agreed to drop a lawsuit said the terms of his agreement with the board of education were meant to embarrass him and his family.

Eric Holmes, who had been director of educational services for the district, effective June 4.

According to his agreement with the Dawson-Bryant Board of Education, in addition to having to drop his lawsuit against the school district, superintendent Dennis DeCamp and three board members, Holmes is also prohibited from working or volunteering for the district for the next 18 years. He also may not attempt to become a member of the Dawson-Bryant Board of Education for 18 years.

“I think that certainly was meant to embarrass me and my family,” Holmes said of his agreement not to volunteer at the district. “I don’t think it was something anyone else has ever had to endure.”

Under the agreement, Holmes will receive wages for the 2009-2010 school year, but no other funds from the board.

Holmes, who is 42, attended school in the district through high school and had worked there 19 years. His wife Jami is a teacher at Dawson-Bryant Elementary and their three children attend schools in the district.

Holmes said he is actively seeking employment in other school districts.

“I’m ready to move on and put it behind me,” Holmes said. “I should have looked for different employment before and I had a lot of professional friends that told me that. I regret that I didn’t do it then.”

He said he was not comfortable working with certain members of the board.

“The issues that I had with the board of education and the superintendent were such that I felt like it wasn’t a place I wanted to be anymore,” Holmes said.

Holmes filed the lawsuit Dec. 14, 2009 in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court. The lawsuit, which sought $25,000, named DeCamp along with board members Jamie Murphy, Debbie Drummond and Deanna Holliday and the district as a whole.

Holmes, who had been an elementary school principal, was reassigned to an administrative role a year and a half ago. He applied for the position of superintendent but DeCamp was hired instead of Holmes.

In the lawsuit, Holmes said that his problems with the district intensified when DeCamp became superintendent and the three board members sought re-election to the board.

Holmes also alleged that the superintendent and three board members accused him of not finishing his work, even though he said he did his work properly. He alleged that the defendants questioned his whereabouts during the school day and accused him of doing personal business during the school day.

The suit also claimed that Holmes was falsely accused of using his work computer to campaign for other board members and disseminating information about a prior investigation regarding DeCamp and a female student at another school district.