New Weatherly Area su­per will come from out­side the dis­trict

Ex­it­ing su­per, board pres­i­dent un­aware of any cur­rent staff with cer­ti­fi­ca­tion

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - LOCAL - By SAM GALSKI Staff Writer McLaugh­lin sgal­ski@stan­dard­

Weatherly Area School Dis­trict’s out­go­ing su­per­in­ten­dent be­lieves the school board could have a suc­ces­sor named by early Fe­bru­ary.

School board Pres­i­dent Gi­rard Fewins said that while the school board wants to per­ma­nently fill the po­si­tion as soon as pos­si­ble, he said the screen­ing and hir­ing process could ex­tend be­yond March 3, which is out­go­ing Su­per­in­ten­dent Thomas McLaugh­lin’s last day at Weatherly Area.

If the lat­ter sce­nario un­folds, the school board would likely have to rely on ser­vices of an in­terim su­per­in­ten­dent, Fewins said.

The school board wants to fill the po­si­tion “as soon as pos­si­ble, pro­vided we get the right per­son,” Fewins said Fri­day, just a few days af­ter McLaugh­lin’s res­ig­na­tion was pre­sented for a vote.

As a ges­ture of sup­port, the school board voted 5-4 ear­lier this week against a rec­om­men­da­tion to ac­cept McLaugh­lin’s res­ig­na­tion. The vote, how­ever, gives the school board no le­gal stand­ing to re­quire him to stay.

His last day with Weatherly Area is March 3. Three days later, McLaugh­lin will be­gin serv­ing as hu­man re­sources di­rec­tor at Palmer- ton Area School Dis­trict.

Weatherly Area’s pre­vi­ous su­per­in­ten­dent search and hir­ing process took about two weeks to com­plete, Fewins said.

McLaugh­lin han­dled var­i­ous ad­min­is­tra­tive du­ties dur­ing his ten­ure with the dis­trict and also had a let­ter of el­i­gi­bil­ity to serve as su­per­in­ten­dent, Fewins re­called.

“That went pretty smooth,” Fewins said. “He was a prin­ci­pal al­ready and had his su­per­in­ten­dent’s (cer­ti­fi­ca­tion). With ap­pli­ca­tions or in­ter­views, maybe it took a to­tal of two weeks.”

This time around, that lux­ury won’t be avail­able.

Nei­ther McLaugh­lin nor Fewins said they are aware of any cur­rent Weatherly Area em­ploy­ees who are cer­ti­fied to serve as su­per­in­ten­dent.

“That would’ve made things a lot eas­ier,” Fewins said.

The school dis­trict posted the po­si­tion un­der a “jobs” link on its web­site. It also has been ad­ver­tised in news­pa­pers and other pub­li­ca­tions.

Ap­pli­cants must sub­mit re­sumes and other per­ti­nent doc­u­ments to the school board pres­i­dent by Jan. 20, ac­cord­ing to a no­tice posted on the dis­trict’s web­site.

The process might also take a bit longer be­cause can­di­dates that are cur­rently work­ing in other school dis- tricts would have to give those school no­tice be­fore leav­ing, Fewins noted.

“They’re go­ing to have to give their schools, or wher­ever they’re com­ing from, (no­tice),” he said. “The schools can hold (them) for 60 days.”

If the po­si­tion is not filled by the time McLaugh­lin leaves, the school board would have to con­sider hir­ing some­one on an in­terim ba­sis un­til an ap­pli­cant is per­ma­nently ap­pointed, Fewins said.

McLaugh­lin said he will not be part of ap­pli­cant screen­ings or in­ter­views. The school board will han­dle those re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“I think they want to move quick,” McLaugh­lin said of the school board.

McLaugh­lin spent six of his 11 years with Weatherly Area as su­per­in­ten­dent. He was ap­pointed to the top ad­min­is­tra­tive post in 2011 and said the big­gest chal­lenge is bal­anc­ing pro­grams with fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“The big­gest is the bud­get,” he said. “That’s by far — try­ing to main­tain all you pro­grams while be­ing fis­cally re­spon­si­ble at the same time.”

Al­though he’s mov­ing on, McLaugh­lin said that he plans to main­tain the pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ships that he forged at Weatherly Area schools.

“I’ve been very im­pressed with the fac­ulty and staff and com­mit­ment they’ve had for the kids,” he added. “I cer­tainly wish the best for the dis­trict in the fu­ture. Hope­fully, they can find some­one and con­tinue to grow and pros­per.”

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