Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The New Kid On The Block

There has been no royal baby-like puffs of white smoke emanating from the rooftop of the Methacton administration building....and in a nice change, it's practically impossible to find a photograph of this person online. As of this evening, it’s official: Methacton has a new superintendent.  

Photo credit: LinkedIn
In a divided, 6-2 vote, the Board nominated and approved the hiring of Dr. David A. Zerbe as superintendent of schools at a salary of $170,000 for a 4-year term commencing October 20, 2013 and running through June 30, 2017. Zerbe currently serves as assistant superintendent of the Pocono Mountain School District, a post he’s held since 2008. 

Pocono Mountain is a school district approximately twice the size of Methacton, with over 9,000 students (although it was as high as 12,000 students) spread over  304 square miles and an annual budget approaching $200 million dollars (Methacton's is in the $95 million range). He's overseen a large administrative staff, and both construction of new schools and the closing of others due to declining enrollment, along with commensurate staff reductions in force. His most recent salary at Pocono Mountain was apparently in the $120,000 range per 2010-11 public information I located. Presumably the increase includes a relocation allowance.

In a voice vote, school board members Mark O’Neal, Herb Rothe, Jim Phillips, Christian Nascimento, Kim Woodring and school board president Joyce Petrauskus all voted in favor of hiring Zerbe. Maria Shackleford and Cathleen Barone voted against (presumably favoring the other final candidate) although both noted that they would support Zerbe in his new role. Board member Howard Jones was absent.  

Petrauskus read a prepared statement about the new hire (see the press release, here), and outlined in detail the recruiting process, criteria development and interviewing that had taken place and led them to focus on Zerbe as their selection after winnowing 26 resumes down to 9 and then 2. Recalling the selection of the Pennsylvania School Board Association as consultant, she provided a timeline from April to present, detailing the process of gathering input from administrative personnel, faculty members, Home and School members, support staff, focus group members of the public, former school board members, and students, along with a grueling set of interviews and an extensive background check, to arrive at the selection of Dr. Zerbe. 

After the vote, Shackleford commented on the fact that the final two candidates had “very different personalities and backgrounds”, and expressed “disappointment with how the selection process was handled”.   

The board members and various school employees in the audience congratulated Zerbe, who thanked the board for the opportunity and for their confidence, and introduced his wife, Chris and three daughters: 17-year old Tiffany, 13-year old Jillian and 11-year old Sydney. When I asked whether he planned to relocate and settle here, Zerbe said “our goal is to move into the community within a year” because they’d like for Tiffany to be able to graduate from the high school she currently attends, as she’s in her senior year.  They expect their younger two daughters to enroll in Methacton schools.

Let’s extend the Zerbe family a warm welcome to the Methacton 'tribe' and our best wishes for Dr. Zerbe's success in his new position.







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