EASD hires new assistant superintendent

By on February 4, 2015


Dr. Jacy Clugston Hess

Dr. Jacy Clugston Hess

Despite some recent calls to not replace the position, Ephrata Area School District has a new assistant superintendent.
Dr. Jacy Clugston Hess was unanimously approved by the school board in a special meeting of the whole held Monday night. Her salary was set at $115,000 per year.
Hess replaces Kim Schlemmer, who resigned in December. She currently serves as principal at Palmyra Area Middle School. Previously, she served as an elementary school principal and teacher in both the Palmyra and Manheim Central School Districts. She was also formerly a Summer of Opportunities instructor at Milton Hershey School.
In her new role as Assistant Superintendant, Hess will oversee early childhood programming and elementary curriculum, assessment, and instruction. She will also serve on the Ephrata Area Education Foundation Board, manage district school safety and human resources and be a liaison to the Ephrata pre-school community.
“In checking Dr. Hess’ references, we heard comments that described her as the brightest elementary principal they had ever worked with,” District Superintendent Dr. Brian Troop said while introducing Hess to school directors. “We must agree with her references that she is going to be top notch.”
Troop noted that in all there were 24 applicants for the open position, of which, the administration felt 12 were worthy of an interview. Six of those were considered for a second look until the group was brought down to two finalists. But in the final analysis, Hess reportedly stood head and shoulders above the rest in the final standings.
“Jacy adds to this team in ways that the team needs,” added Troop.
While board president Timothy Stayer could not be present for the meeting, he did forward his thoughts on the hiring of Hess.
“I appreciate the work and efforts put forth by Dr. Troop and the administrative team in evaluating the need for refilling the position and in conducting the interviews and doing all the work in bringing forth an excellent candidate for the position,” said Stayer.
Following the vote to hire here, Hess briefly addressed the board.
“I am honored and humbled by the recommendation of the interview team,” said Hess. “I’m very excited to be joining the Ephrata school community.”
According to a press release by the district, Hess earned her bachelor of science degree in education from Millersville University, a master of education degree in teaching and curriculum from Penn State University and a doctorate in philosophy degree in education leadership. She earned her superintendent letter of eligibility from Penn State.
During an open comments portion of the meeting, parents Kim Bueler and Heather Myer questioned the necessity of filling the Schlemmer vacancy.
Buehler challenged the administration to take a look at ways in which the administration might be able to absorb Schlemmer’s duties amongst the team, citing other similarly sized districts which do not have two assistant superintendents. Recognizing that as a policy, the district has taken a close look at all vacancies to consider ways in which the vacancy could go unfilled.
“If other school districts are succeeding with smaller leadership teams, it is worth at least a trial for our school district to try this set up for the remaining school year,” stated Buehler. “Based on the outcome of this trial, the school board can revisit the administrative needs in the future. I would encourage the school board not only listen to the thoughts of the administrators but also investigate how this trial impacted school staff.”
Troop repeatedly expressed appreciation for both parents’ concerns, stating that he works hard to maintain an open door policy and an effort to be approachable through email. He explained that, as with other district vacancies, the possibility of not filling the position was explored but found to be unworkable, considering the rather sizable list of responsibilities contained in that position. He added that a similar process was followed a year and a half ago when he was promoted from that position to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of former superintendent Dr. Gerald Rosati.
Specifically, Troop pointed to the fact Hess would be heavily relied upon to support the principals at each of the four elementary schools. According to Troop, those administrators are already stretched thin. With her specific background in elementary education, Hess is uniquely qualified to cover a myriad of key responsibilities from early childhood education through staff support and required assessments.
“The volume of responsibility under this position it is rather substantial,” added Troop.
Troop also explained that while other districts appear to have similar enrollment figures but fewer assistant superintendents, in fact it is very difficult to compare schools because each school follows a different leadership structure. In some cases, administrators without superintendent credentials are filling similar functions. And, he said that in terms of overall size of administrative teams, EASD remains on the lean side.
For additional information Ephrata Area School Board, visit .easdpa.org.
Gary P. Klinger welcomes your feedback via email at klingerglobal@gmail.com.

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