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Administrative Changes Update - March 2019

Please see the following message on upcoming administrative changes from Dr. Kerry Drake, President of the UPSD School Board:

Dear UPSD community,

It is without a doubt a time of anticipation and transition within our district. As you know, we are in the process of making some fundamental changes at the administrative level. These changes will put UPSD in a very strong position as we close out this year and prepare for a new school year with many significant changes to be completed in the coming months (new facilities, new programs, and new schedules).

Any organization is more than the sum of its parts. The key to building an effective organization is to put a framework in place to ensure that no one person is irreplaceable, and that administrative personnel changes do not negatively affect the organization as a whole. At Upper Perkiomen School District, it is one of the Board’s primary responsibilities to establish and maintain a well-functioning leadership team, in order to best serve our students and community.

On behalf of the Board, I would like to give a brief overview of the changes currently underway, so that our community is fully updated and has an understanding of what to expect in the months ahead. The Board has held many personnel discussions with the current administrative team, including our business administrator Mrs. Sandy Kassel and assistant superintendent Dr. Andrea Farina, to help ensure a smooth transition during this time, and so the district may continue to serve the needs of our students, staff and families in both the short and long term.

First, an update on the superintendent search: As you know from previous Board updates, we held cross-functional superintendent candidate interviews last month, which included teachers and staff from all buildings, as well as the current administrative team. A final candidate has been identified, and several Board members will visit the candidate’s current district within the next week. Shortly after that, our candidate will visit UPSD, and after appointment by the Board, we will host an introductory meeting with the new superintendent at an upcoming Board meeting.

As we work to finalize details with our new superintendent, and upon Dr. McGloin’s pending exit from the district on April 30, the Board has appointed Dr. Farina as the acting superintendent. She will serve in this capacity until the new superintendent is in place, and will receive a temporary increase in compensation for this limited term of additional responsibility. A substitute assistant superintendent will also be put in place to assist Dr. Farina with planning and execution of building changes for the upcoming school year, along with all other ongoing activities in the district.

Additionally, our director of human resources Ms. Ashley Kitten has recently informed us of her intent leave the district. With assistance from the MCIU, we will be sourcing her replacement, and also appointing an interim director of human resources as the search progresses. The Board negotiation committee will continue with the union contract negotiations during Ms. Kitten’s remaining time with the district. If the contract is not finalized by the date of Ms. Kitten’s departure, the Board will continue the negotiations with appropriate support from administration and/or a suitable substitute.

In addition, the Board and administration have also just received word that Mrs. Lesley Motruk will be retiring as principal of Marlborough Elementary. We will initiate recruitment for that key role, and we have also initiated recruitment for the vacant director of special education & pupil services position. We expect the new superintendent will have significant input on the final hires for these positions. One final note, a new facilities director has been identified and will be approved at the upcoming April 11 Board Meeting. This individual will be firmly established prior to the multiple facility moves in the upcoming year.

These leadership changes are coming at a slightly faster pace than anticipated. Fortunately these changes align well with our long term plans and give us the opportunity to accelerate the positive changes in the district that we have started to implement over the last few years. The Board and the administrative team are excited by the possibilities that lie ahead, given the new leadership perspectives and new skills and talents that will be available once the new administrators are on board. We are working hard to ensure that these new hires will help to build a culture of trust. They will surely only add to the talent and capabilities of the skilled staff and administrators that are already in place in the district.

We are on this journey together, and we hope that this high-level organizational update informs the students, staff, and community, and shows that we are on a well-founded path to build our district’s future in a collaborative, transparent manner. Thank you for your patience and support as we complete these changes. We are confident that we are ultimately strengthening the Upper Perkiomen School District and our future will be even brighter than before.

Sincerely,
Dr. Kerry Drake
President of the UPSD School Board