EL Board looks to fill two seats

The Elk Lake School Board interviewed two candidates looking to fill the school director seat vacated last month by longtime member Eric Emmerich, of Springville.

The interviews of Taylor Emmerich and Jamie Orlandini took place during a work session held immediately prior to the Tuesday, July 2, Elk Lake and Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center (SCCTC) board meetings. The board plans to fill the seat at the July 18 meeting.

But that is not the only vacancy the board is looking to fill. Another seat opened last Tuesday evening after school director John Pierson, of Rush Twp., was hired by the district for a Secondary Science teaching position. Pierson has been teaching in the Towanda School District.

Immediately after he was officially hired by the district, Pierson resigned from his elected position.

Pierson said he had learned a lot during his time on the board. “Four years ago I ran (for the school board seat) with no idea I would be sitting here at this point,” he said.

Superintendent Ken Cuomo said, “It is a true blessing to see somebody come through the (Elk Lake) system, go out into the world, come back and teach elsewhere and then return to teach here.”

Board president Anne Teel said she was happy for the district’s staff and students, but said the board was losing a “valuable member with great insight.”

Pierson was not the only professional staffer hired by the board last week. Other newly hired teachers include:

Lauren Shovlin, Secondary English; Catherine Morton, 8th grade Special Education; Ashley Venn, Elementary Special Education; and Laura Greenley, Emily Seaberg, Elementary positions.

Three paraeducators were also hired by the board: Nichole Kotch, Dayna Smith, Nicole Huyck,

The bulk of the interviewing process was conducted by the district’s administrators. Elementary Principal Mark Weisgold said “I think we hired a great group.”

He went on to thank district staff saying they provided “a huge piece of insight” during the process.

Cuomo commended the administrators for their work over about three weeks of “almost solid interviewing. A lot goes into this,” he told the board.

Special Education Director Pamela Staats said she had received compliments from interviewees on how well the admin team works together.

The board also approved a change to the medical benefit premium plan for the district’s administrators covered under Act 93 contract. The revision, effective July 1, provides that administrators making less than the maximum annual teaching salary contained in the professional collective bargaining agreement salary matrix will pay a monthly premium share equal to what is in the professional staff contract.

Those administrators with salaries above the maximum teacher pay will pay a monthly premium share of $100 per month.

At retirement, Act 93 employees of Elk Lake and SCCTC will be assessed a premium share as contained in the professional collective bargaining agreement and would be subject to changes of the medical benefit plan and premium shares of future contracts.

The same approval to the Act 93 addendum was given by the board in the SCCTC meeting.

Board member Chuck Place reported that he had attended the SCCTC Practical Nursing graduation ceremony, saying, “It was a nice one.”

Cuomo added that a new session of the program started the day of the board meeting with 24 students enrolled.

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