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Former Tolton High School president discusses unexpected firing

For the first time in his professional life, Doug Callahan took time Friday to research and apply for unemployment benefits.

“I didn’t even know where the unemployment office was,” said Callahan. “I haven’t been unemployed in my entire life. I’m still in shock.”

Less than two months after Callahan was appointed president of Father Augustine Tolton Regional Catholic High School, the diocese of Jefferson City announced his departure Thursday.

In an interview with ABC 17 News, Callahan said the diocese did not provide a reason for his termination and that the move confused and surprised him.

“I’m still trying to figure out exactly what happened,” said Callahan. “It caught me completely off guard. I’m obviously very disappointed, but life goes on.”

The Tolton High School Booster Club organization declined an interview with ABC 17 News but a spokesperson provided a statement in a private Facebook message.

“As the Booster Club, parent volunteers aren’t privy to any more information than has already been shared. We trust that the Diocese has our best interest in mind and this leadership change won’t diminish our commitment to student achievement in academics, athletics and activities. Tonight (Friday), our main focus as a Booster Club is celebrating our senior football players and cheerleaders for all the hard work and dedication they have put into representing Tolton Catholic.”

The Diocese of Jefferson City also declined an on-camera interview Friday.

When asked about the process of finding a new president and the qualifications that must be displayed in potential candidates, the diocese said it did not have answers to those questions yet.

ABC 17 News asked the organization via email whether the change in leadership will affect the learning environment at the school.

“This won’t change the learning environment,” The diocese replied. “It is the principal’s duty to oversee the learning environment.”

The diocese declined to provide any additional details about the dismissal of Callahan, calling it “a personnel matter,” but said that it is working with professional educational consultants in the transition.

“‘Personnel’ to them is a little more personal to me because I was really looking forward to this being my second career,” said Callahan. “I left a great job that I loved with the Boy Scouts, but we’ll see what God has in store for me.”

The president position was not posted to the diocese employment website as of the publication of this article.

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