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Dr. Kelly Pauling recommended for assistant superintendent

On July 14, the Salisbury Township school board held its monthly meeting. The agenda was a full one, with several key issues on deck for discussion, with quite a few members of the community opting to speak up at the start of the meeting during the period for public comment, as well as at the finish.

School physician Dr. Mary Fabian of St. Luke’s Health Network was on hand for the special recognitions/presentations portion of the meeting. Fabian is also the school doctor for the Brandywine and Kutztown area districts.

She spoke briefly about current official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, suggesting they continue to be followed now including calls for unvaccinated people to continue to wear masks. “We realize this is a bit of a challenge in the school districts,” Fabian said. She also commented that while her official stance is to recommend CDC and St. Luke’s guidelines for health and safety regarding COVID-19, she recognizes districts will do as they see fit. She urged the board and those tuning in to keep community case count and student and staff safety in mind at all times.

During board discussion following Fabian’s comments, questions about the possible negative effects of masking, county and area vaccination rates and more were brought to the table. It was also made clear that any plan made and voted on at this meeting would remain fluid and the board has the capacity to continue to make changes as new information becomes available.

Conversation about updates to the district’s masking policy took center stage in board discussions. After a brief recess, the board elected to make masks in school optional for all students, with only two members voting no on the grounds they believed masks for unvaccinated students should still be required. It was noted, too, by board member Samuel DeFrank that while, effective as of July 15, masks in school buildings will be optional, masks are still mandated on public transportation such as school buses.

The next portion of the meeting focused on the district’s decision to create and fill an assistant superintendent position.

Current Superintendent Lynn Fuini-Hetten said when she assumed her new role with Salisbury, she would take several months to settle in and evaluate the needs of the district in view of the current administration to see what possible changes could be made to create efficiencies.

Fuini-Hetten then recommended the current Director of Teaching and Learning Dr. Kelly Pauling to take on the role of assistant superintendent. She highlighted Pauling’s contributions to the district thus far, such as significant progress in modernizing the district curriculum, focusing on STEM learning and increasing opportunities for special education program offerings. Fuini Hetten went on to say she recognizes the “significant impact Kelly’s collaborative work has had on the district,” and she was “proud” to recommend her.

Fuini-Hetten also proposed, at this time, the director of teaching and learning position would not be filled, but instead an assistant principal position would be established for Salisbury Elementary School.

Board member Joseph Gnall inquired about the potential impact to the budget. The reply was that due to several staffing changes at different intervals, such as the previous superintendent’s departure midyear, there would be minimal impact to the current budget.

The board approved advancing Pauling’s recommendation to a personnel committee where further negotiations will take place and additional details for the next steps will be confirmed.

The job posting for the assistant principal position will be posted as soon as possible.

Fuini-Hetten reiterated the district is still looking to fill quite a few instructional assistant roles and information on employment with the district can be found on the website.

The Aug. 18 board meeting will be the first in-person meeting at the administration building since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020. Board meetings will no longer take place via Zoom unless otherwise specified, but can be watched live via YouTube.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Director of Teaching and Learning Dr. Kelly Pauling is recommended for the position of assistant superintendent in the Salisbury Township School District.