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Palmerton seeks input for new superintendent

Published June 05. 2019 01:36PM

Palmerton Area School District is turning to its community members, staff and students as it creates a road map for hiring its next superintendent.

Board President Kate Baumgardt said Tuesday night that the district will create three different anonymous surveys to help gauge what each of those stakeholder groups is looking for in a future superintendent.

Palmerton’s human resources director, Thomas McLaughlin, was appointed as substitute superintendent for the remainder of the 2018-19 school year after the district and prior Superintendent Scot Engler reached a mutual separation agreement last month.

“The surveys will be up on the district website on Wednesday, and be left up for two weeks,” Baumgardt said.

The surveys can be found at

Questions include what are the strengths of the district, what improvements need to be made in the district, what is your satisfaction level with the district, what business/community partnerships should the district seek to provide enhanced opportunities for all students, what five indicators best describe a successful school district, and what priority level should the district give to improving certain areas? There is also an area for survey takers to add any other comments they may have.

While Baumgardt said she knows two weeks doesn’t seem like a lot of time, the district hopes to take the next step in its search at the June 18 board meeting.

“By that meeting, we’re going to be looking to invest in either the Pennsylvania School Boards Association or the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit to help us with the superintendent search, and the first thing they want to know is what do you want in a superintendent,” she said. “So the goal is to try and have this data ready for them before we start that.”

The results of the survey will be posted on the district website.

Engler was hired as Palmerton superintendent in 2013 and received a five-year extension in 2017, which would have taken him through June 30, 2022.

He is on approved leave with the district through June 30 and will start as special education director for the Bangor Area School District on July 1.

Perhaps we should try doing without for a year and see how it goes. The last 2 certainly were more trouble than they were worth.

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