In a show of support for athletic director Shawn Hindy, a number of parents and students attended the Lehighton Area School Board meeting last evening – many wearing "Forever a Hindian" T-shirts.

At the Feb. 28 meeting, the school board decided to not renew Hindy's contract and to open the AD position to new applicants.

Cindy Berger spoke in support of Hindy, saying, "The real losers are the students in our school district ... It's the kids who will suffer."

Hindy was hired as field hockey head coach in 2006, when Sharon Elder retired. At about the same time, he was named athletic director. During Hindy's five years as field hockey head coach, he enjoyed tremendous success on the field.

Last evening, Hindy addressed the school board, reminding them that " ... there are always two sides to every story."

He informed the board that he has sought legal counsel to appeal the process that resulted in his AD contract not being renewed.

"I'm very appreciative of the support that came here this evening – the kids and parents – and they're not just from the field hockey team."

He continued, "I always tell the kids to do what's right. That's what I feel like I'm doing."

Speaking as a taxpayer, school board Vice President Larry Stern voiced his dissatisfaction with "how it was done."

Later in the meeting, the school board accepted Hindy's resignation from the position of 2011-2012 field hockey head coach, as well as from the position of director of student activities/athletics, effective April 1.

Hindy has accepted an assistant coaching position at Michigan State University. He assumes this new position with the Spartans in April for their spring tournaments. The board also accepted the resignation of Courtney Schleicher from the position of 2011-2012 field hockey assistant coach.

On a more positive note, the president of the Lehighton Area Republican Club, Jason Galloway, recognized the winners of the Presidents Day Drawing and Essay Contest. Megan Dubble, a second-grade student from Mahoning Elementary School, received a certificate of recognition and a $100 bond for her drawing. LAHS senior Kirk Ahner accepted a $150 bond and a certificate of recognition for his essay.

In other business, architectural consultants Mark Barnhardt and Leah Shiley of EI Associates updated the school board on the LASD Building Task Force Committee. They presented an overview of the five options that the committee is currently evaluating.

Option one is to design and build a new middle school building. Following construction, the current facility would be converted to an elementary school. Alterations would be made to the current elementary schools.

Option two is to design and build a new middle school. Following construction, the current building would be converted to an elementary school. An additional new elementary school would be built, while the four current elementary school buildings would be closed.

Option three is to design and build a new middle school. Alterations and additions would be made to the existing elementary schools. The current middle school would be used during the elementary school construction phase. It would then be closed upon completion of the elementary schools.

Option four would be to make proper alterations and additions to the current middle school. Alterations and additions would also be made to the existing elementary schools.

Option five maintains the gymnasium and auditorium areas of the current middle school. The new middle school structure would be built in the area of the south parking lot so as not to interfere with classes at the current middle school during construction. Upon completion of the new building, the current middle school to the north of the gymnasium and auditorium would be torn down.

The final phase of all five options is to maintain the high school building with required upgrades.

The next meeting of the LASD Building Task Force Committee is scheduled for Tuesday, April 5 at 7 p.m. at the middle school and is open to the public.

At last night's meeting, the school board also accepted retirement notices from Beverly Mertz, a paraprofessional at the high school for 11 years; and from Jan Haydt, a kindergarten teacher at Shull-David Elementary School for 34 1/2 years. The retirements become effective at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

In other matters, the school board voted to schedule commencement for the Class of 2011 to be held Friday, June 10at 7 p.m.

With the Lehighton Area School Board meeting taking place at Carbon Career & Technical Institute in Jim Thorpe last evening, the board was given a tour of the newly-renovated building during its 5:30 p.m. executive session.

The next meeting of Lehighton Area School Board is scheduled for Monday, April 18 at 7 p.m. at the LASD Administration Building.