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UASD welcomes Gerald Walmer; will review its mental health protocols

Upper Adams School District (UASD) school board reorganization meeting welcomed a new board member and new leadership this week.

Tom Wilson was re-elected board president and Jim Lady was appointed vice president.

The board unanimously agreed to former vice president Ron Ebbert’s nomination of Lady.

Gerald Walmer was welcomed to fill the vacancy of Ed Ponce, as well as appointed Student Activities Chair.

Members continuing on the board are Ebbert, Christopher Fee, Susan Crouse, Cindy Janczyk, James Rutkowski, Jim Lady, and Bruce Hollabaugh.  

Several board members also continued their chair positions.

Wilson thanked the school board for their dedication and service to the school district community.

Wilson also thanked the board for their confidence to re-elect him board president but emphasized the strength of the school board came from its representation as a Round Table for the district.

“I am nothing more or less than first among equals. Each of us represents the community and we have an equal footing in what we want to discuss, what we want to say, and how we would like things to go,” he said.

During the regular school board meeting, regarding the recent Michigan high school shooting tragedy, Wilson encouraged guidance counselors and those involved in student support to review policy and procedures, “If we have any faults to perhaps learn from somebody else’s tragedies and not have a replication of that here,” Wilson said.

Statements regarding the well-being of students and members of the school district are always taken seriously, Superintendent Wesley Doll said.

“We do investigate any and all types of situations that might be brought to our attention,” he said.

The school district has internal procedures in place to provide resources including trained school professionals and Doll encouraged parents and guardians to reach out with any concerns.

Students can also utilize Safe2Say Something, an anonymous tool to voice concerns at any time that can be found at https://www.safe2saypa.org/, as well as via a smart phone app.

In other business, an “as needed agreement” was approved between the school district and WellSpan Philhaven regarding student mental health needs.  

“This Upper Adams and Philhaven to communicate educational needs back and forth,” said Director of Student Services Dr. Anne Corwell.

The agreement is not monetary in nature and the district would be responsible for the educational resources while the student is there.

In other business:

Doll was authorized permission to advertise, hire, and accept school district resignations until the board’s next voting meeting. Wilson called the need “atypical,” saying the decision is aimed for the superintendent to have the latitude to not miss out on a potential hire because the board was not in session.

As the district has faced several personnel changes recently, “I see this more as the ability to post, advertise, and interview and keep that process moving,” he said.

A school trip was canceled.  Originally approved by the board in 2018, the trip was initially to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam and was postponed from March 2021 to March 2022. The trip was later changed to Peru for March 2022, before being canceled altogether.

The next regular board meeting will meet January 18 at 7 p.m.

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