A myriad of candidates have emerged to fill a dual principal position in the Palmerton Area School District.
Superintendent Carol Boyce told members of the school board's Curriculum, Athletics, Personnel and Policy Committee on Thursday that there's no shortage of candidates to head both S.S. Palmer Elementary and the Parkside Education Center.
"We've had a significant number of applications," Boyce said. "My hope is to get the interview process going, and if things go well, I hope to have a recommendation for you at the December board meeting."
Boyce said the interview committee will be comprised of two school board directors, two teacher and two administrators along with herself.
In September, the board hired David Becker as interim principal to oversee both schools at a rate of $300 a day.
However, Becker is likely to remain in the position until around mid-January, at which time the district hopes to have a permanent principal in place.
Becker took over after former principal Paul Rearden was hired as principal of the Peters Elementary School in the Northern Lehigh School District in August at a salary of $83,000.
After Rearden resigned, William Congdon, associate principal/athletic director, had been asked to oversee both buildings.
Also on Thursday, the committee was informed that there has been plenty of interest expressed by substitute teachers to work in the district.
Sherrie Fenner, director of curriculum and instruction, said the district's recent Meet and Greet Guest Teacher's Program was a real revelation.
"We had 20 substitutes who indicated interest in substitute teaching in Palmerton," Fenner said. "Of those, there were 10 that handed us everything and are ready to substitute for us."
Boyce said the district plans to add between 10 to 11 substitute teaches, and added that there are additional substitutes in waiting.
Fenner said the district has interviewed each of the candidates, whom she said are eager to get started in the district.
In an unrelated matter, the committee heard a request from junior high school Principal Thaddeus Kosciolek who asked for additional office coverage.
Kosciolek said additional help is needed at the school, especially during the lunch period.
"We don't have any coverage in the office," Kosciolek said. "There's times when I might be away, and the office has to be shut down, which is an inconvenience."
Kosciolek explained that the lunch period is often the busiest time of day, as parents often pick up students for appointments and the like.
"I'm asking if we'd be allowed to use instructional assistants, which wouldn't cost the district anything," he said. "To me, it's a safety issue."
In other business, Congdon told the committee under the athletics portion of the meeting that the soccer programs are eventually going to need another field for practice.
Congdon suggested the program would need an additional field somewhere at the high school/junior high complex, or perhaps additional time at the Seventh Street field.
Also as part of his report, Congdon presented the committee with a "wish list" of items he said the athletics program could use over time.
Congdon listed soccer goals, a wrestling mat, a lawn tractor, as well as improvements to the tennis courts, the high school locker rooms and weight room ventilation among the list of needs.
The committee also heard a presentation from school psychologist Robert Palazzo on schoolwide positive behavior interventions and supports.
Palazzo said the purpose of the program is to improve classroom and school climate, and added the initiative is "moving along quite nicely."
"Our plan is to introduce a SOAR program in January," Palazzo said. "We hope to be in full force by next September."
Finally, Boyce said a proposal will be presented to the board to hire a new full-time secretary at the Towamensing Elementary School.