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Penn-Kidder principal to lead JT district

  • Gasper
Published March 11. 2014 05:00PM

The Jim Thorpe school board on Monday hired one of its elementary school principals as superintendent.

Brian Gasper, principal of the Penn-Kidder Campus, will replace Barbara Conway, who plans to retire June 30 after seven years on the job.

Gasper will be paid $110,000; Conway this year earned $104,737, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Gasper's selection was not without some protests by those on the board and by several members of the public, who came out in support of candidate Thomas Lesisko, currently the principal at Jim Thorpe Area High School.

The board voted 6-1, with Glenn Confer and board President Clement McGinley absent, to hire Gasper.

Board member Gerald Strubinger, who questioned the amount of Gasper's salary in comparison to Conway's, voted no.

Board members John Partenio, John Ciaverella, William Allison, Pearl Downs-Sheckler, Walter Schulz and Dennis McGinley, who had stated his support for Lesisko, voted in favor of hiring Gasper.

Gasper's application is still pending, due to a holdup in his superintendent certification. However, Conway read a letter stating that Gasper had completed his certification and would be fully certified before taking the job.

Solicitor Gregory Mousseau confirmed that all the paperwork for Gasper's certification was in order.

Gasper has been Penn-Kidder principal since 2007.

"I am privileged to take over in July as your new superintendent," said Gasper, thanking the board and those in attendance.

Another big change to the board was the resignation of board president McGinley.

"Dr. McGinley has been an excellent board member and president. We will definitely miss Dr. McGinley," said board Vice President Partenio.

The board will advertise the open position March 13, with an application deadline of March 21 and interviews starting March 31. Applicants are encouraged to get their paperwork filed before the deadline.

The board also approved the nomination of Dennis McGinley as board vice president.

They also accepted the retirement of para-educator Cheryl Herman, effective May 30, and approved a 3.5-hour permanent cafeteria position.

To allow for the selection of the new board president, the April school board meeting has been moved from April 14 up to April 7, at the Penn-Kidder Campus.

The snow also continued to be an issue, with snow makeup days scheduled for April 16, 17 (early dismissal for students only) and 22, with April 21 a tentative date.

Strubinger made a motion to add a two-tier bus system to combine bus service for high school and elementary students to cut down on the 46 daily runs currently being made. The motion was sent to a Transportation Committee special meeting, now scheduled for April 14.

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