The Vanguard School athletic director, Dina Fuqua, won't be returning for the 2018-19 season.

Fuqua has served as athletic director for 11 of her 20 years at The Vanguard School. The school's board of directors have not explained Fuqua's dismissal and no one has been named to the position.

More than 40 residents attended a Tuesday meeting in the school library to learn why Fuqua was dismissed. Some residents claim the furor started after the former tennis coach was fired two years ago, and that the coach and another parent are behind a campaign to oust Fuqua.

Residents offered various explanations as to why the coach was fired, and said they didn't know about Fuqua's dismissal until last week.

Dede Shuck said Fuqua represents everything good about the school, its students and athletic department. "These parents are to blame for Fuqua's dismissal, and for the school to allow this to happen is unfathomable," Shuck said.

"Without Dina this school wouldn't have an athletic program. Dina was tasked with putting together a program, and she spent hours single-handedly building and refining the program into what it is today. She wanted students to experience athletics, and to learn to compete well and become state champions."

Shuck said people behind Fuqua's dismissal bullied the athletic director and spread lies about her. "They manipulated the truth and made slanderous statements about her. Dina hasn't been able to defend herself, and this barrage of lies can damage hers and the school's reputation," Shuck said.

Another resident, Jeff Robinet, applauded Fuqua for her compassion and problem-solving skills. "I don't know all the details surrounding this issue. What I do know is Dina resolved problems. She based it on what was right and made good decisions," Robinet said.

Michelle Brewster said, "Dina's goal was to make The Vanguard School No. 1 and she did that. The school won't find anyone who works as hard as her."

Ryan Blanchard, the junior high school girls' basketball coach, added, "My experiences with the athletic department has been fantastic. I don't always get what I push for, but overall I have seen only good things in the athletic department. That's a tribute to Dina."

However, following the meeting, resident Veronica Hughes said she and other parents complained about Fuqua's performance.

"She lost my child's physical (and) payment, and we were one of many families this has happened to. If Mrs. Fuqua liked you, then everything went great for you. If she didn't, then things were bad," Hughes said.

Principal Colin Mullaney said: "While we cannot discuss details of decisions regarding personnel matters, we plan for Mrs. Fuqua to remain as the athletic director for the remainder of this school year. The school is currently working toward mutual agreement with Mrs. Fuqua to transition to a different full-time position with the school for next year."

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