Northwesten Lehigh principal to retire
DOUGLAS GRAVES/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS "It's been an honor and a privilege to serve our communitya community that values education," said Dennis Nemes, Northwestern Lehigh High School's principal who plans to retire in September.
The Northwestern Lehigh School Board accepted at its meeting last week High School Principal Dennis Nemes' request to retire effective in September after almost 30 years as the high school principal.
Nemes, a resident of Emmaus, said that he and his wife have attended 30 high school proms together.
Numerous administrators and school staff members praised Nemes for his leadership and mentoring over the course of his career.
Nemes said he will continue teaching education at DeSales University.
"It's been an honor and a privilege to serve our communitya community that values education," said Nemes.
The board also approved the retirement of school bus driver Walter Snyder effective March 25 after more than 21 years service.
Another parent has publically complained to the school board that the middle school is tolerating an unsafe environment for students. A parent who, to protect his child, doesn't want to be publically identified, said that his child had been assaulted while at Northwestern Lehigh Middle School.
In January, the guardian of a child also complained to the school board that students had assaulted her child on a school bus and, later that day, in a locker room.
"Something needs to be done," said the father.
He said that there is a "safety concern" about another student that the school was not adequately addressing. He spoke of another student whose name went unspoken but who administrators and board members seemed to know.
School board member Darryl Schafer interrupted the parent and urged him not to use any names because the name would get on the internet.
The parent said that the particular child, who he said was creating problems, was being "shadowed" by administrators during regular class hours to keep him out of trouble but during athletics period when his child was assaulted the "shadow" had been dismissed.
"We do not shadow people," said Superintendent Dr. Mary Anne Wright. "We provide 'instructional assistants' to children who need them."
School board President Greg Snyder asked the parent to meet with the Superintendent and with Dr. Mark Scott, Director of Student Services.
In an interview, the parent said that he was happy with the action taken by school officials but that he felt the problem was so serious that the school board needed to know about it.
In other business, the school board approved a resolution opposing Senate Bill 1, "Opportunity Scholarship and Educational Improvement Tax Credit Act" that was recently passed by the Pennsylvania State Senate. The State House of Representatives bill has not been passed by the State House of Representatives.
The PA School Board Association (PBA) supports the resolution. The PBA is a lobbying group that generally supports or opposes legislation based on whether it is considered good for school boards and their districts.
According to the administration, SB 1 "creates tax-payer funded tuition vouchers to students from low-income families to be used for public, private, or parochial schools."
The administration introduced the idea that starting the 2012-2013 school year, school may start before Labor Day.
However, this coming school year, 2011-2012, the first day of school for students will be Sept. 6.
The board approved an "initial deposit" of $6,500 for the Stabler Center for the senior class graduation this year. The district has spent over $100,000 to rent the Lehigh University venue since it started holding the ceremony at the Stabler Center in 1995.
The school board approved $1,002,490.56 as Northwestern Lehigh's share of Lehigh Career & Technical Institute's budget. According to the administration, this is "a decrease of $3,072.67 from last year's budget. This amounts to a cost per NWLSD student of $3,152.00.
NWLSD's enrollment report shows that overall student population is trending downward from 2,402 students in Sept. 2006 to 2,357 in Sept.