— SUNBURY - Emails obtained through a right-to-know request indicate that the successful candidates for principal and assistant principal of Shikellamy High School had an inside track to the jobs.
New Principal Ernie Jackson had a long-standing friendship with Superintendent Pat Kelley, while Assistant Principal Brandy Wiest had been friends with the district’s director of education, Abbey Walshaw-Wertz, when they both worked in Upper Dauphin School District. Walshaw-Wertz, who was on the district’s 11-member search committee, wrote a letter to her fellow committee members recommending Wiest for the job.
Kelley and Walshaw-Wertz defended their actions Monday and said they chose the best qualified candidates.
“Bottom line is we are happy with who we chose,” Kelley said. “We did nothing wrong"
Here are some local thoughts on the matter from The Daily Item’s Facebook page:
“I think if they were the most qualified applicants for their respective jobs, then it isn't a big deal. However, it’s been brought to light that they were not necessarily the most qualified applicants, and yet no others were even considered. Odd. I think that if your objectivity is in question, you should be removed from making a decision.” – Brynne Clawser
“This is interesting, considering how career development experts say networking is important for career advancement. What level of previous familiarity with a job applicant is officially too much?” – Erik Viker
“In today's job market it is very difficult to get hired without knowing someone. With that said, having a connection should only entitle you to an interview, with the best qualified candidate being selected.” – Theresa Ayers Stanko
“Who cares if they hired a friend or someone they knew. If you know someone who is qualified for a position and you let them know or nominate them for it then so be it. Every where I've worked when there was an opening I was either told about the position or told people I knew about the position so they could have a good job.” – Lindsay Hook Sassaman
“As long as their qualifications met the criteria so what.” – CL Burns
“If the person hired is the best candidate, great. But often good candidates can't even get an interview because they do not have the inside track.” – Kimberly Sarisky Matunis