The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

June 24, 2014

New Midd-West director against splitting post

MIDDLEBURG — A move by the Midd-West School District to separate two administrative positions held by suspended Acting Superintendent Daphne Snook was halted at the request of a newly appointed board member.

The school board approved eliminating the assistant superintendent position and separating the director of curriculum and technology into two positions in March, a month before they voted to suspend without pay Snook, who had held those positions since 2011.

Snook had been serving as acting superintendent since January following the resignation of Wesley Knapp.

By mid-April, Snook was suspended by the board due to allegations that she had illegally monitored district emails. A police investigation was launched, and she was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

In May, Snook filed a federal lawsuit for defamation, breach of contract, retribution and other violations against district solicitor Orris Knepp III and the eight board members who voted for her suspension. Board director Christopher Nesbit was not a member at the time and wasn’t named as a defendant in the suit.

To date, the board hasn’t acted on Snook’s employment, and she remains on unpaid suspension. Her contract with the district is set to expire at the end of June.

On Monday, Nesbit asked the board to reconsider its decision to separate the director of curriculum and technology job, suggesting they are too intertwined to give the responsibilities to two people at additional cost.

Director Corey Smith said he also was concerned about creating two positions that would require two administrators to work so closely together.

Smith said he’d prefer leaving the decision up to newly hired Superintendent Richard Musselman, who begins his new job on July 1.

“We should let Mr. Musselman build his leadership team,” he said.

Board President Victor Abate said the reason for separating the positions was that they were looking to have the director of curriculum take on the added responsibility of federal programs coordinator.

Snook also had been overseeing that job, as well.

Abate agreed that Musselman should be involved in the decision, but he wasn’t keen on having the public chime in.

When Nesbit asked whether residents would be allowed to comment about the matter during Monday’s meeting, Abate hedged.

“I don’t know,” he said, pausing for several seconds before declaring that public comment would be allowed after the board discusses the issue.

The school board is scheduled to hold a special executive session for the purpose of discussing a personnel issue at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

In other business, the board approved salary increases for 2014-15 ranging from 3.37 percent to 4.37 percent for the following administrators: high school Principal Cynthia Hutchinson, $96,390; middle school Principal Donna Samuelson, $88,472; special education supervisor David Fassett, $92,013; assistant high school principal Todd VanKirk, $75,548; Middleburg Elementary School Principal Dane Aucker, $70,632; buildings and grounds supervisor Gary Thomas, $70,113; senior network administrator James Edmiston III, $48,541; athletic director Bree Solomon, $40,313; and business manager Lynn Naugle, $89,350.

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