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Region 2 seat on NASD board unfilled

A hearing concerning the appointment of a Northampton Area School District Board of Education director to represent Region 2, which encompasses Northampton Borough and East Allen Township, will be held 1 p.m. May 1 in courtroom 1 at Northampton County Court before Northampton County President Judge Craig A. Dally.

NASD Solicitor Atty. John E. Freund III, of King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul, was notified of the hearing in a Civil Division Rule to Show Cause order filing April 11.

The hearing is being held because an appointment was not made for the Region 2 vacancy at a special NASD school board meeting April 9, when seven applicants for appointment as interim board member were interviewed.

School directors voted 8-0 at the March 11 board meeting to accept a letter from Chuck Frantz to resign from the board effective March 1 and authorize the administration to advertise the vacant board position for Region 2.

Frantz did not attend the March 11 meeting. Frantz’s term representing Region 2 would have concluded Dec. 1, 2025. The appointee will fill the remainder of the Region 2 term.

The school board retains authority to fill the Region 2 seat if and until a petition is filed for the seat, Freund said after the April 9 meeting.

According to Section 315, Pennsylvania Public School Code, “If, by reason of a tie vote or otherwise, such vacancy shall not have been filled by the board of school directors within 30 days after such vacancy shall have occurred from the qualified electors of the district, the court of common pleas of the proper county, upon the petition of 10 or more resident taxpayers, shall fill such vacancy by the appointment of a suitable person from the qualified electors of the district.”

It is believed a petition was filed for Christine Steigerwalt, one of the applicants for the Region 2 seat. It is not known, as of press time, if other petitions were filed for the Region 2 seat.

At the April 9 meeting, school directors nominated several applicants, but none received a majority vote of the eight-member board.

Several directors voted to abstain for nominees, including school board President Doug Vaughn.

Interviews for the vacancy began 5:30 p.m. and concluded 7:18 p.m. at the April 9 meeting in the auditorium of Northampton Area High School. One dozen audience members attended the interviews, which were open to the public.

Each applicant, seated alone at a table at the front of the auditorium, was asked nine questions by Vaughn. The interview committee was the school directors, including Vaughn, Vice President Kristin Soldridge and Directors Dr. Michael Baird, Joshua Harris, Brian McCulloch, John Becker, Kim Bretzik and Ross Makary.

Each applicant, sequestered in the school library, did not hear the questions or answers of the other candidates. Each applicant’s question-and-answer session took approximately 10 minutes.

The applicants, in the order of the April 9 interviews, were:

• Michael Buckley, St. Luke’s University Health Network trainee

• Shelby Fabian, professional mechanical engineer at ARCCA LLC

• William Jones, software engineer at PowerSchoolGroup LLC, Bath

• Maggie Kemp, former two-term NASD Region 2 school director

• Nathan Lichtenwalner, Northampton County deputy sheriff

• Fran Shehab, Gockley Elementary School reading paraprofessional, Whitehall-Coplay School District

• Christine Steigerwalt, Palmerton Area School District retired principal; NASD assistant principal and physical education teacher

After nominations for three applicants and unsuccessful votes for each, the meeting adjourned.

“I don’t feel I can cast a good, solid vote tonight,” Vaughn said after the April 9 meeting, citing a need to review resumes and the short notice that information was received.

After the meeting, McCulloch said Jones should have been appointed. Harris nominated Jones, seconded by McCullough.

“Mr. Jones got over 1,500 votes in the election,” McCulloch said.

Nominations and unsuccessful votes were also made at the April 9 meeting for Lichtenwalner and Kemp.

The NASD Board of Education’s next monthly meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. May 13 in the NAHS auditorium, 1619 Laubach Ave., Northampton.

Michael Buckley
Shelby Fabian
William Jones
Maggie Kemp
Nathan Lichtenwalner
Fran Shehab
Christine Steigerwalt