Peachtree Ridge High School announced a new cross country coach in April with hopes he would raise participation in a program with growing potential. Instead, he didn’t finish out his first season at the Suwanee-based school.
Former Peachtree Ridge cross country coach Casey Ramel resigned in October, the middle of the 2019 cross country season, amid an investigation by Gwinnett County Public Schools into a relationship he allegedly had with an 18-year-old student prior to his employment with GCPS.
This incident was reported to GCPS by the school district Ramel previously worked for, Chicago Public Schools. When contacted, Ramel told the Daily Post he resigned after his parents became ill and said his family was moving.
“My parents are ill,” Ramel said. “That’s all there is to it.”
Ramel implied he was unaware the school district was investigating him and declined to elaborate when or if he had already moved.
“I’m not sure how this is anything because there’s nothing to this,” he said. “This is a family issue … There’s nothing to elaborate on. I can’t even imagine — goodbye.”
Ramel formerly coached at Shiloh High School for four years and also coached distance running for the Peachtree Ridge track and field team. He taught language arts at Peachtree Ridge. A statement from the school system said he resigned Oct. 15.
“His resignation occurred during a Human Resources investigation into a 2012 allegation of an inappropriate relationship with an 18-year-old student that occurred prior to his employment with Gwinnett County Public Schools,” a statement from Gwinnett County Public Schools said. “This incident allegedly occurred out of state and information about it was not reported to GCPS through his references or in the background check that was run prior to his hiring in Gwinnett.”
The school district launched the investigation in response to a report from Chicago Public Schools, but officials said they found that no wrongdoing occurred during Ramel’s employment with Gwinnett County Public Schools. Spokesperson Sloan Roach said the school district followed mandatory reporting guidelines in filing a complaint with the Professional Standards Commission.
“Our investigation was initiated based on a report from the school system he worked at before he was hired here,” Roach said.
Emily Bolton, a spokesperson for Chicago Public Schools, said as part of the district’s review of past sexual misconduct allegations and investigations, the district learned of Ramel’s recent employment at another school district and alerted GCPS.
GCPS officials said the investigation is still pending. The Daily Post requested documents from the school system pertaining to Ramel’s investigative file via the Freedom of Information Act, but a GCPS official said the documents could not be obtained for pending investigations, citing code O.C.G.A. 50-18-72(8).
Paul Shaw, Executive Director of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, said the school system filed a complaint against Ramel on Friday, 17 days after his resignation. The complaint will be presented to the Professional Standards Commission at its December meeting when the commission will vote to determine whether to conduct an investigation.
Parents of runners on the Peachtree Ridge cross country team said Ramel’s resignation was unexpected and the school did not initially provide an explanation for his leaving, saying only that he would not be returning to the school.
“The kids were notified that he had resigned and was no longer with the district,” Stacey Beck, a parent of a senior runner said. “They sent out a letter from (athletic director Ryan Lesniak) stating that he had resigned and was no longer employed with Gwinnett County Schools.”
Ramel’s bio on the Peachtree Ridge High School website said he’s been an educator for more than 20 years. Ramel told the Daily Post in a Q&A interview that a friend talked him into coming to Snellville to coach Shiloh High School’s cross country program. He increased participation numbers at Shiloh and helped the team qualify for the state meet.