By Rachel Barner, news editor and Hannah Nicholson, staff writer
It’s a little past the beginning of the second nine weeks, and Saegertown is still without an assistant principal.
Principal Tom Baker continues to balance the responsibilities of two office positions, with PENNCREST Athletic Director Dana Mason filling the assistant slot on various occasions.
Mr. Mason, who use to be the assistant principal of Maplewood, is now the athletic director of all three schools. He is usually in Saegertown about three times a week as the athletic director. “There isn’t a lot of time in my schedule that is expendable, but I am an alumni of Saegertown, and I want to do what I can to help, but it has been tough. My schedule is very busy and I am expected to spend time in all three schools,” said Mr. Mason.
Even with his busy schedule, he is determined to help out. This isn’t the first time Mason has been asked to do this. “I am sure [Mr. Baker] is under a lot of pressure. He is always under pressure and never complains. He has given me a couple of tasks that I can help him with. He has asked me to do things that are time manageable,” said Mr. Mason.
Science teacher and former assistant principal Mr. Phil Young said, “I am a little concerned for the well being of the building’s function in a normal manner. But fortunately we have really good people here in this building that can pick up on the slack in the meantime. I am concerned that other details that matter to children’s lives are going to slip through,” said Mr. Young.
Some teachers started the year without knowing how to deal with minor disciplinary issues. “I think initially teachers were unsure of how to handle minor disciplinary issues because we also lost refocus, and with Mr. Baker’s guidance, we have established a procedure to do with the minor issues,” said Young.
Superintendent Michael J. Healey shared that interviews should be held soon to fill the position. “Next week [he said last Friday] we should be interviewing. We can complete our process fairly quickly. We have internal candidates, and that causes less conundrum for us. With external applicants, you have to be careful of how soon they can leave their current position. By law you can be held 60 days current position. We want to get someone in here as soon as possible,” said Mr. Healey.
To be considered for the assistant principal position, an applicant needs at least five years of teaching experience and an administrative certificate from Pennsylvania.
Eighth grader Ella Nicholson said, “I think it is just too much [without an assistant principal]. It is overwhelming. Lots of groups in the school want permission to do things, and Mr. Baker cannot get back to them quickly and he is really busy.”
In addition, senior representative to the school board Sydney Kightlinger, who spoke at the Oct. 13 board meeting, said: “When I spoke at the board meeting, I said it was a problem. And it is. There are about 500 students in the school everyday. There are certain things that need done that get overlooked when we have someone doing the work of two people. We are going on fifty days without an assistant principal, and that has an effect on the building.”