A familiar face will return to Lehighton Area School District after Superintendent James Kraky retires March 30.

At the Lehighton Area School Board meeting on Monday evening, longtime LASD teacher and administrator Dr. Terence Maher was hired as a consultant to manage the school district in the transition following Kraky's retirement – beginning April 1.

He will become acting superintendent on July 1. Kraky's last date as an employee of LASD will be June 30.

Dr. Maher had worked in LASD for more than 26 years – including nearly 10 years as assistant superintendent. After being passed over for the top job in Lehighton, he was hired as superintendent by Pine Grove Area School District.

Also at the meeting on Monday evening, the school board hired Suzanne Howland as elementary principal of East Penn and Franklin Elementary Schools. She replaces Gretchen Laviolette, who has returned to the classroom as a high school math teacher.

Also no stranger to LASD, Howland has recently been serving as Response to Instruction and intervention teacher for the school district.

"I am so pleased to have been chosen as the new principal of East Penn and Franklin Elementary Schools. I look forward to helping our local students maximize their education in the Lehighton Area School District," said Howland. "I believe that when parents, teachers, and administrators work together as a team, they can realize the core goal of creating a nurturing, disciplined, and challenging educational environment."

Effective at the end of the 2011-2012 school year, the school board accepted intents to retire for Terry Christman, custodian; Judith McHugh, paraprofessional at Lehighton Area Middle School; and Darlene Serfass, cafeteria worker at LAMS.

In other business, the school board approved the 2012-2013 proposed budgets of Carbon Career & Technical Institute, Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit # 21, and Lehigh Carbon Community College.

Student representative to the school board Shyanne Kleintop announced that LAHS Student Council will host Juggle Fest at the high school. This special event will take place on Friday, March 2 from 5-10 p.m.; Saturday, March 3 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, March 4 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free lessons in circus arts will be offered. It's also free to watch – with the exception of Saturday evening when there will be an admission charge.

Drama Club and Juggling Club will be assisting with Juggle Fest. Over 200 jugglers are expected to attend. For more information, visit www.PoconoJuggleFest.webs.com.

LAHS recently won first place in the Mountain Valley Conference Science Olympiad. Twelve schools participated in the competition at Northampton Community College. The team is now preparing for Regionals to be held March 7 at the Wilkes-Barre Campus of Penn State.

Recently, 17 LAHS students attended the Mountain Valley Conference Chess Competition. Devin Roth placed fifth out of 120 participants. Shawn Walck placed fourth and Dan Berry placed fifth out of 70 players.

School board President Rocky Ahner and LAHS Principal Tim Tkach reported that Lehighton Area Drug and Alcohol Task Force is looking into the possibility of acquiring a school resource officer. This officer would be an extension of the police department with an office at the school. He or she would be present during the school day, walk the halls, and have contact with the students on a daily basis.

The Borough of Lehighton has forwarded a letter of intent for a grant to pay for the school resource officer for two years. Currently, there is no school resource officer in Carbon County.

A moment of silence was observed at the school board meeting on Monday evening in memory of Lisa Hine who passed away on Feb. 13. Hine was a paraprofessional at LAMS.

The next meeting of the school board is scheduled for Monday, March 26 at 7 p.m. at LASD Administration Building, Conference Room A. The public is encouraged to attend.

For more information about LASD, visit www.Lehighton.org.