School administrator requests transfer to guidance position | Northumberland County

DANVILLE — Director of Student Affairs and Services Chris Johns will become a guidance counselor in the Danville area school district beginning July 1.

Johns, a former principal of Liberty Valley Intermediate School and then Danville Area High School, was promoted to his current position in February 2019 as part of a comprehensive restructuring of the district’s administrative staff by then-superintendent Jason Bendle.

The school board on Monday night approved a voluntary transfer agreement with Johns that will bring him into the bargaining unit, but reduced his current annual salary of $106,945 from $26,508 to $80,437 a year.

“The opportunity was there, and I was looking for a better work-life balance,” Johns said after the board meeting.

“I think he was burning out,” Superintendent Ricki Boyle said.

She said Johns was tired of all the night hours and everything that came with work. She said he is a family man who wants to spend more time with his family.

As Director of Student Affairs and Services, Johns serves as athletic director and oversees alternative education – including online learning – counseling coordination and extracurricular activities.

Boyle said in the meeting that Johns requested the transfer. She said he has a degree in counseling.

The board voted at its January 11 school board meeting to create the position of additional counselor. Board member Jenn Gurski questioned Boyle’s recommendation to create a new position. Gurski said she wasn’t opposed to hiring another guidance counselor, but she said Boyle didn’t present enough information about the job before she put him on the line. of the day.

Boyle said Monday night that most of Johns’ current duties would be split among administrators, but a part-time athletic director and part-time assistant athletic director would be appointed to handle those duties for stipends of $10,000 and $5,000. $, respectively.

The Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology will oversee online learning, homeschooling, and related programs; the district business manager will become the Title IX coordinator; principals will oversee extracurricular activities and the director of special education will oversee related programs. The program director will see a $5,000 pay raise, the special education director an additional $3,000, while the others will each receive an additional $2,000 for additional duties.

The board will decide on additional duties at another board meeting, Boyle said.

With the changes in duties, the district will see annual net savings of $56,175, the superintendent said.

Curriculum “not deficient”

Boyle also reported that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has determined Liberty Valley Intermediate School’s fourth-grade curriculum “is not deficient at this time,” although the department has made some recommendations.

The parents expressed their concerns to the board in November, saying the district was breaking the law and could face legal consequences. Parent Allison Cotner said there was a gap in the fourth-grade English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum at Liberty Valley. Sandy Green and Angela Krainak claimed the deficiency led to the resignation of June Heeter, a popular fourth grade ELA teacher.

Cotner said she even filed a formal program deficiency complaint with PDE.

John Bickhart, who was named director of curriculum, instruction and technology last year, said the district has been trying to provide quality education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the past year has been dedicated to delivering cyber and blended learning.

Bickhart said teachers are involved in the planning process with administrators to work through the issues.

Boyle said after that meeting that “when we discovered all of these things, we worked to fix them.”

Retirements, hirings

On Monday evening, the board approved the retirement of four teachers at the end of the school year, including two fourth-grade teachers at Liberty Valley. Molly Riegel is a fourth grade teacher and Holly Berkey is a fourth grade learning support teacher at the school. Danville Elementary School kindergarten teacher Mary Lou Potter and high school agriculture teacher Kelly Smith-Wells are also retiring.

Boyle said the four teachers represent about a century of combined teaching experience.

The board also approved the hiring of Stephen Kalberer, Ph.D., as a school psychologist at an annual contract salary of $78,458.

After filing her hire last month, the board voted to approve Angela Sivillo as head women’s soccer coach for $7,785 on a one-year deal.

Martha K. Merrill