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Lehighton superintendent retires

Published January 24. 2012 05:01PM

It's been said that "change is the only constant." Lehighton Area School District is learning this first-hand. There are many changes taking place throughout the district - starting at the top.

Lehighton Area School Board accepted the letter of retirement from James Kraky as Superintendent of LASD on Monday evening. Kraky will work with a special school board committee to determine his last work date.

School Board President Rocky Ahner thanked Kraky for his dedicated service to LASD.

Several other intents to retire were also accepted by the school board. The following retirements will become effective at the end of the 2011 - 2012 school year: Debra Biery, second grade teacher at East Penn Elementary School; Jane Brunner, librarian at East Penn and Franklin Elementary Schools; Christine Cella, family and consumer sciences teacher at Lehighton Area High School; Barbara Jones, sixth grade social studies teacher at Lehighton Area Middle School; David Matsinko and Deborah Myers, special education teachers at LAMS; and Molly Phillips, art teacher at LAMS.

The school board also accepted the resignation of Gretchen Laviolette as Principal of East Penn and Franklin Elementary Schools. Laviolette has been hired to replace Mollie Llewellyn as a high school math teacher. Llewellyn resigned, effective Jan. 13.

School director Tina Dowd also had her resignation accepted by the school board. Due to changes in her personal schedule, Dowd said, "Unfortunately, I can no longer give 100 percent to the school board. I thank you for the opportunity to have served Lehighton Area School District."

Solicitor William Schwab advised the board that it may fill the vacancy in any way it chooses - however, the vacancy must be filled within 30 days. The school board voted to offer Dowd's unexpired term to former school board member John Finnegan.

In other business, the school board approved the recommendation to hire Kenneth Eck, Jr. as an eighth grade science teacher at LAMS.

In other business, student representative to the school board Shyanne Kleintop announced that LAHS students will host Juggle Fest at LAHS. This special event will take place on Friday, March 2 from 5 to 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.

There will be six professional performers - one of whom works on cruise ships and in the Disney Parks. In addition, there will be a world premier of a unicycle trial course (obstacle course) with two professional unicyclists - as well as a world champion yo-yoist. For more information, visit

Kleintop also reported the activities of students involved with American Red Cross. These include distributing homemade Christmas cards to patients in the local hospital and nursing homes; donating blankets and mittens to CareNet; and helping to spread fire prevention and safety information to families in Lehighton.

Upcoming events include students playing bingo with residents of Lehighton Highrise on Wednesday, Jan. 25 and Tuesday, Feb. 14; participating in the Feed-A-Neighbor program on Thursday, Jan. 26; selling first aid kits through Monday, Jan. 30; continuing to volunteer with Family Promise; and participating in "Random Acts of Kindness Week" Monday, Feb. 13 through Friday, Feb. 19. For more information on this event, visit

National Honor Society students have started a peer tutoring program at LAHS and LAMS. They are also sponsoring a blood drive on Thursday, Feb. 2 and are still in the process of gathering funds for a memorial garden.

LAHS Principal Tim Tkach and Assistant Principal Daniel Repsher reported that the Lehighton Area Drug and Alcohol Task Force will host presentations by former NBA player Chris Herren. He will speak to the community on Thursday, May 17 and to students on Friday, May 18. Herren's battles with substance abuse are the subject of ESPN's documentary "Unguarded."

The next task force meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at LAHS. All interested community members are invited and encouraged to attend and become involved.

The next meeting of Lehighton Area School Board is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at LASD Administration Building, Conference Room A. The public is encouraged to attend.

For more information about LASD, visit

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