RUSSELL, Pa. – Six new school board members are likely to be seated in December, and the new board will have a significant decision to make right out of the gate.
With current Warren County School District Superintendent Amy Stewart having announced her resignation, effective March 1, 2024, the new board will have to conduct a search for her replacement. Stewart said part of the reason she announced her resignation so far in advance was to give the district plenty of time to make a smooth transition.
“(At) the last meeting my retirement was made public so that we can be planning in terms of going forward and give the new board plenty of time to do what we need to do,” Stewart said. “And two things typically need done at that point. So I just want to share what it is that we are doing. We will have internal capacity ready to go into an interim role if that’s what the new board desires. I’m not going to just sit back and let things fall apart. That’s again a good part of the reason why I gave notice when I did so that is in motion and so that won’t be left to chance and then the new board will be able to make that decision.”
Stewart said two entities, the Pennsylvania School Board Association and Intermediate Unit 5, have already reached out to the district to offer their service in conducting the search for a new superintendent.
“We could get them ready for the new board so that right in December they could be looking at those two entities and get a meeting set up,” Stewart said. “And that way the new board once they get seated could talk to both of those and decide you know which avenue that they wanted to go down. At least have those options in front of them so we can get that set up for the December timeframe. So again, just trying to do what we can to be ready without taking on that decision-making.”
To that end, the current board discussed how it could aid the search process and help the new board.
“I’m just gonna throw out a suggestion for us to bat around with really no predilection which way we go, but when Donna and I joined the board 16 years ago it was similarly a time when superintendents were exiting and they were looking to hire,” board member Arthur Stewart said. “And that board extended to Donna and me . . . the courtesy of getting together before the December organizational meeting and soliciting our thoughts so we would be a part of the process.”
Stewart later made a motion, which passed unanimously, to invite all school board candidates on the ballot to attend the Oct. 23 committee meetings.
“I move that we invite to the Oct. 23 committee meeting all school board candidates on the ballot to hold a discussion with them to determine if there’s any unanimity of view for anything that this board can do to tee up at either a November or December school board agenda action that would help the new board conduct a smooth and efficient superintendent search,” Arthur Stewart motioned.
Amy Stewart said she has already begun preparing the administrative team for her departure.
“I’m actively working with my entire team right now transferring knowledge, getting things ready,” Amy Stewart said. “If I’m out of the district, things happen. Everybody’s quite capable and could move on. But we’re actively doing that work because we don’t know what decision will be made in December.”