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FASD welcomes a new board and a new administrator

The Fairfield Area School Board has unanimously approved former Fairfield teacher Lisa M. Sturges as a new board member.

Sturges currently serves as a volunteer. She said her time as a teacher will contribute to her success as a board member thanks to her knowledge of the daily life of a teacher.

She also praised the district as a whole.

“I came here and spent almost my whole career here because of the community, the parents, what I was provided with as a teacher, and the students,” Sturges said. She said she has enjoyed seeing former first grade students become parents in the district.

Sturges said her time helping lead the local teachers’ association will also help her in her new position on the board.

Sturges said she feels the district has done well, but noted that she benefited from workshops through the Lincoln Intermediate Unit when she was a teacher and would like to see more offered to teachers.

She also cautioned the district to be aware of changing needs and practices within the field of education.

“I think that with some of our current circumstances health-wise that we’ve had, we have gone more virtual… I think education is evolving because of that,” Sturges said. “I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but I think we have to learn how to mesh technology, which we were a little lagging in at times, with the students and how they’re learning today.”

Sturges will fill the seat of former board member Richard Phillip, who resigned effective March 21 due to moving outside of the district. Her term will expire in December 2023.

The board also unanimously voted to hire Sonja L. Brunner as the assistant to the superintendent for curriculum, special education and student services.

Brunner currently serves as the director of special education for the Bermudian Springs school district, according to that district’s website.

The board voted to approve Brunner’s four-year contract beginning June 1.

Other business

Superintendent Thomas Haupt and the board recognized Teacher Appreciation Week early as the board will not hold a regular meeting next week.

Haupt said he has worked to get an idea of what teachers would appreciate and learned staff would enjoy food more than “trinkets,” he said. He is working with Crystal Heller, the district’s food service supervisor, on “surprises” for teachers for most days next week.

The board also unanimously approved the Pennsylvania School Board Association’s (PSBA) seven Principles of Governance and Leadership. PSBA keeps a searchable public list of districts that have agreed to the list.

“The first is ‘advocate earnestly,’ the second is ‘lead responsibly,’ the third is ‘govern effectively,’ the fourth is ‘plan thoughtfully,’ the fifth is ‘evaluate continuously,’ the sixth is ‘communicate clearly,’ and lastly, seven is ‘act ethically,’” Haupt said.

Andrew Kuhn, athletic director for the district, said he is still working to set up a time to have a signing day for six student athletes. The date and time will be announced on the district’s website and social media accounts, according to Kuhn.

Kuhn announced that the athletic awards night will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 in the high school auditorium.

No one signed up to offer public comment during the meeting.

The board will hold its next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, May 9 in the district board room. Meetings are also livestreamed on the district’s YouTube channel.

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Imari Scarbrough is a freelance journalist. She was a staff newspaper reporter for five years before becoming a freelancer in 2017. She has written on crime, environmental issues, severe weather events, local and regional government and more.

You can visit her website at ImariJournal.com.

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