Oswayo Valley School District Superintendent Jed Hamberger, who took the reins in August 2019, has goals for the district that include improving career-focused educational opportunities and maintaining school safety.
Oswayo Valley School District serves students in Shinglehouse, with 194 students in the elementary, and 229 at the middle and high school levels.
Hamberger is a graduate of McGuffey High School, where he returned for a period of time to teach in the district.
“I started out teaching Kindergarten for five years at McGuffey School District, then moved to an assistant principal position at West Greene School District,” Hamberger said of his teaching experience. “(I) then became the K-12 Academic Director at West Greene prior to coming to OV for the superintendent position.”
Hamberger draws some comparisons between his previous school district and Oswayo Valley, noting that is part of what appealed to him when considering the idea of a change in employment.
“It’s a small rural district like where I came from at West Greene School District, with an amazing staff and a fully supportive school board,” he said. “I was looking to get back to central PA so when this popped up it was a no-brainer to come to a small community like OV, where everyone here is working to improve the educational opportunities for our students.”
He also earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Lock Haven University, a Masters in Administration from Duquesne University and a Superintendent Letter of Eligibility from California University of PA.
When it comes to the academic side of OV, Hamberger is of the opinion that current status is more than satisfactory.
“Academically, we are performing at an amazing level across both buildings with our Future Ready Index scores; so that is not one of my focus points currently,” Hamberger noted. “There is always going to be room for improvement in academics, but that is simply not my focus at this point.
“I’m extremely happy with our performance that stems from our teachers, administration, and parents full commitment to the educational success of our students at OV.”
Instead, his focus is on helping to incorporate more of a career focus to opportunities open to students in the district.
“One of my major goals at OV is to embrace the career-based educational practices from the state level. I want to design students’ educational scope of courses based on their future career goals,” he said. “With my background heavily focused on STEM and Computer Science at my previous district, and I’d like to bring that here to central PA.”
Hamberger noted that partnerships with businesses in the area will be a key move to help both the students and the community.
“I’m working with local businesses to initiate the teacher/student in the workplace program where we are sending students and staff out to local businesses to see what is required in today’s workforce. Then we will be partnering with local businesses to develop our education around the local workforce demands to keep students locally employed in the district and to give back to their communities.”
School safety is an area where he is looking to make some changes.
“The second piece is the focus on school safety and security with Act 44 changing the game for schools and what is required to be proactive for emergency situations. With the PCCD grants and safe schools grant opportunities there is plenty of funding to pursue to be able to do this at a minimal cost for the district,” Hamberger said. “One of my goals under school safety and security is to partner with the local police department in Shinglehouse and to have a school police officer on campus at any time school is in session.”
Hamberger explained that he is a West Alexander native but also has been visiting Potter County for a camp since he was a child.
“Now I get to work in my vacation spot. I’ve always said since I was at LHU that I wanted to get back to the mountains, due to my hobbies of fly fishing and upland hunting. This is the perfect place for me and my wife, Ashley,” Hamberger stated.