The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 15, 2014

Midd-West board suspends acting superintendent

MIDDLEBURG — The Midd-West school board announced Monday night that acting Superintendent Daphne Snook has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of a criminal investigation into a breach in the district’s email system.

The breach was discovered by accident, and Snyder County District Attorney Michael Piecuch was notified immediately, board President Victor Abate told a crowd of about 150 faculty, staff and residents who came out to confront the board about ongoing controversies in the district.

Piecuch said he referred the board’s complaint to Middleburg police for investigation. District solicitor Orris Knepp will also be conducting an inquiry into the matter.

“I don’t know if a crime was committed. We will follow the evidence,” Piecuch said, declining to comment further on the district’s personnel issues.

Snook was baffled to learn that a criminal investigation was taking place.

She admits to briefly monitoring board email correspondence, which she said is allowed under the district’s policy on acceptable Internet use. The policy states that electronic mail in the district’s system is not guaranteed to be private and may be reviewed by building and system administrators.

Jim Buckheit, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, said it is not unusual for superintendents to monitor Internet use to make sure the technology is being used properly.

“It’s not atypical, particularly now in any public body,” he said. “We need that latitude to monitor it more and more these days.”

Said Snook: “When I think of a breach, I think personal information has gotten into the hands of an unauthorized person.”

Interim chosen

After voting unanimously to suspend Snook, the board appointed Middle School Principal Donna Samuelson to serve as interim superintendent.

Several people — residents and faculty — spoke against the board members’ recent actions and vowed to keep a close watch on how they conduct business.

Former school board member Sue Kinney reminded them about the Sunshine Law and that their decisions have to be made in public. “It’s just a warning,” she said.

Faculty union president Ann Murray said the removal of Snook so soon after the abrupt resignation of Superintendent Wesley Knapp has left school employees confused.

“My concern is that we have no leadership,” Murray said. “The staff has no trust or confidence in the board. They are just dumbfounded.”

Snook was the district’s assistant superintendent and director of curriculum, instruction and technology when Knapp announced his resignation in October amid charges levied by the board that he had lied under oath in a deposition, openly chastised board members and misled or withheld information from the panel.

In December, Snook was tapped to serve as acting superintendent and received $300 each month in addition to her $106,000 annual salary.

Last month, the board voted to eliminate the position of assistant superintendent and separate the director of technology title from director of curriculum and instruction in July.

Abate said those decisions would not affect Snook’s position as director of curriculum and instruction and that the board was continuing to discuss her future with the district.

Text Only
  • 1obamanew.jpg Conflicting rulings on Obamacare

    A federal appeals court has delivered a serious setback to President Barack Obama’s health care law, potentially derailing subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who have bought policies.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • bearden9.jpg Bail reduced for Bearden

    Jasmine Bearden, who was arrested earlier this year on criminal attempted homicide charges for the alleged abuse of her six-week old baby, had her bail reduced in Union County on Tuesday morning.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • US airlines scrap Israel flights

    Two U.S. airlines cancelled all flights to Israel until further notice, after a rocket landed near Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.

    July 22, 2014

  • 1flag.jpg Mysterious white flags appear atop Brooklyn Bridge

    Someone has replaced two American flags on the Brooklyn Bridge with mysterious white flags.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • bass22.jpg Mifflinburg honors its national fishing champs

    MIFFLINBURG — More than 50 friends, fans and relatives gathered in front of Mifflinburg Area High School on Monday night to celebrate the homecoming of juniors Nick Osman and Garrett Enders, newly crowned winners of the BASSmasters National High School Championships, held last week in Tennessee.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Newport official succeeds Snook in $94G-a-year post

    Newport School District’s director of educational services is slated to be hired tonight by the Midd-West School Board to fill the vacant director of curricular and instruction position.

    July 22, 2014

  • Report: Retaliation by supervisors common at VA

    A pharmacy supervisor at the VA was placed on leave after complaining about errors and delays in delivering medications to patients at a hospital in Palo Alto, California.

    July 22, 2014

  • $5,000 added for M-W restroom work

    The bill for the Midd-West School District stadium restroom renovations continues to rise to the consternation of at least one board member.

    July 22, 2014

  • Today's editorial: Dubious achievements in press secretary-ism

    Ryan Shucard, press secretary to Valley Congressman Tom Marino since May, recently posted on LinkedIn that he was excited and ready to elevate the congressman’s legislative profile — which Shucard did last weekend (but not in a good way) when he got himself arrested for bringing a pistol into a federal office building.

    July 22, 2014

  • Danville train diver left hospital 4 days before suicide

    DANVILLE — The young man who killed himself by diving under an Iron Heritage Festival passenger train underwent treatment in mental health facilities as recently as four days before his death, according to Montour County Coroner Scott E. Lynn.

    July 22, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.