New elementary principal approved
For the first time in nearly a year, Saucon Valley Elementary School will have its own principal, as Dr. Lensi Nikolov of Bethlehem was unanimously approved for hire at the June 8 Saucon Valley school board meeting.
Nikolov, who received her Doctor of Education degree from Lehigh University, previously worked in the Allentown School District and has spent the last four years as Supervisor of Reading, Federal Programs and English Language Development at the Central Bucks School District. She fills a vacancy created by the departure of the school’s previous principal, Cynthia Motter, who resigned prior to the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.
Board member Bryan Eichfeld offered high praise for Nikolov, saying, “She really has a lot to offer our district, I’m very happy that she’s come aboard.” Superintendent Dr. Craig Butler agreed, adding, “She comes highly recommended, highly educated, highly successful. I think she’s going to bring great experience to our already talented elementary staff.”
In other news, district solicitor Mark Fitzgerald reminded the board and administration that they will need to develop a 2021-22 Health and Safety Plan as well as a 520.1 Emergency Resolution, as required by the Pa. Department of Education.
Fitzgerald indicated that both measures will be necessary to secure grants, saying, “effectively you’re putting together a Health and Safety Plan in order to get your federal dollars.” The 520.1 resolution will “simply allow for flexibility in instruction should there be some sort of event surrounding the pandemic,” and won’t affect the trajectory of in-person learning remaining intact, he added.
Butler informed the board that the Pa. Department of Education has provided a template for reference as districts develop their own plans, depending on their needs. The deadline is July 30, which Butler said, “We’re going to be well in advance of.” He called the template a “scaled-down version… very doable.”
He went on to assure the board that guidance from the state “also calls for the involvement of stakeholders in the district. Because we’ve been in person for many months, a lot of it is rudimentary. But there are key questions such as masking, distancing for meals, stuff like that.” The plan will be developed in time to be voted on at the board’s only July meeting, July 27, he said.
Recognition for high achievement of district students was also on the evening’s agenda, as middle school principal James Deegan was on hand to introduce French teacher Sarah Thatcher, who had three students achieve exceptionally high marks on the National French Exam.
Eighth-grader Ivy Chi placed ninth in the Philadelphia Chapter, received a Bronze award and ranked in the 80th percentile, Thatcher said, while her classmate Abby Meier, who received a mention d’honneur for her score, ranked in the 65th percentile. Additionally, seventh-grader Seihara Cluett – in her first year of French classes, Thatcher noted – placed third in the Philadelphia Chapter, was in the 85th percentile and received a Silver award. “With this crazy year, we didn’t do a whole lot of preparation the way that we normally would, so I’m just so proud,” Thatcher said.