Questions surround Manchester school resignation
MANCHESTER - A Manchester High School West coach whose family had ties to the school and to former principal MaryEllen McGorry quit his job last year and surrendered his teaching credentials after allegations arose about an inappropriate relationship with a minor student, according to court records and statements from public officials.
Nicholas Moutsioulis, 33, coached girls' basketball and girls' soccer for three seasons at West until he was terminated half way through the fall 2011 soccer season. Then in January 2012, he was placed on paid leave from his four-year job as a special education teacher at Manchester Memorial High School.
He surrendered his teaching certificate on April 26, 2012, because of an allegation of inappropriate conduct with a student not enrolled at Memorial, said Judith Fillion, who oversees teacher credentialing in the state.
Moutsioulis surrendered his certificate under a provision in state rules that allows surrender with the knowledge that revocation is likely, Fillion said.
Moutsioulis quit his Memorial teaching job the following day, according to Superintendent Tom Brennan.
A telephone message left at Moutsioulis' last known address - his parents' Lucas Road home - was not returned.
Brennan would not give reasons for Moutsioulis' suspension and departure, citing confidentiality policies for school personnel. Nor would he discuss specifics of what steps, if any, school authorities took once they found out about the allegation.
He said school officials followed the proper procedures required when allegations arise involving teacher-student situations. But he would not say if police were notified.
"Our policy is if there's inappropriate behavior, we take steps we deem are appropriate," Brennan said.
Manchester police said they have no record of an arrest or investigation into Moutsioulis. Nor do police in Auburn, where he lived in 2012.
Two months after he quit his job, Moutsioulis' wife - herself a special education teacher at West - filed for divorce, accusing him of "an adulterous relationship with a minor over whom he was in a position of authority."
The divorce petition, which Moutsioulis denied in his official response, referred to the "criminal nature of the conduct" and offered to provide more details if Moutsioulis' lawyer demanded. None was ever asked for, and the divorce was eventually granted.
West High was not unfamiliar territory for Moutsioulis. His mother, Nikki Moutsioulis, taught business education there for 34 years, retiring in 2008.
In her final year there, she orchestrated a staff petition drive to have McGorry, at the time an interim principal at West, named the permanent principal.
Nicholas started working there as a paraprofessional in 2007. After landing a teaching job at Memorial the following year, he remained close to West, taking the junior varsity soccer and basketball coaching positions in 2008-09 and then moving up to the varsity positions the following year.
One parent praised Moutsioulis for his easygoing, light-hearted style, beneficial as the girls struggled through losing seasons.
"He had a very good personality and got the girls through a tough time," said Scott Weldon, whose daughter played on the West teams coached by Moutsioulis. He did not know about the allegations until contacted by a reporter.
Weldon said he knew that Moutsioulis resigned. He had heard that Moutsioulis gave some of his players a ride to a West football game, and some parents believed that was inappropriate.
"It seemed it was as innocuous as that," said Weldon, who added that his daughter did not socialize with the team often.
Brennan would not say whether the allegations against Moutsioulis had anything to do with the investigation that led to McGorry's own resignation in January.
"There's all kind of conspiracy theories out there," Brennan said.
"I wouldn't even begin to respond to that," said McGorry's lawyer, Andru Volinsky, to suggestions that McGorry may have shielded Moutsioulis. "MaryEllen's a principal. She's not the administrator of the school district."