SMETHPORT — The Smethport Area School Board on Wednesday appointed Douglas Dickerson as principal of the district’s junior-senior high school.
His appointment is effective April 19, or upon release from his current employer, the Oswayo Valley School District, where he has been the elementary principal since February 2018.
His prior administrative experience at Oswayo Valley includes middle school principal from February 2016 to 2018 and acting superintendent from July 1, 2019 to October 1, 2019.
A native of Eldred, Dickerson graduated from California University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in technology education. He also earned a master’s degree in educational leadership and principal K-12 certification from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
Dickerson will succeed Brice Benson who has been named district superintendent when David London retires this spring.
In other personnel matters, Marklyn Simms was approved as a school board director, filling out the unexpired term of Donnie Shonts, who had represented Region II for seven-plus years. Magisterial District Judge Bill Todd administered the oath of office to Simms at the beginning of the public meeting and she joined the board immediately. Her term will expire in December.
“Mr. Shonts has been very supportive of education in the district,” said London. “We are very grateful to him for his years of service as a board member. He has always been very positive and encouraging.”
The directors accepted the letter of resignation for retirement purposes from Harold Davis, a secondary teacher.
Also retiring after many years as district solicitor is Christian T. Mattie. Thanking him for his service, London said, “Mr. Mattie is known across the state for his knowledge of school law.”
The following fall coaching supplemental positions were approved for the 2021-22 school year: Amber Berlin, head cheerleading coach; Bill Stephen, head cross country coach; Adam Jack, head football coach; Tom Alfieri, head golf coach; and Corey Cochran, volunteer assistant track and field coach for 2020-21.
Benson introduced Students of the Month for February: Logan Christie, a senior; and Mara Ours, a seventh grader. They received certificates from the district and congratulations from the administration and school directors.
Changes to the 2021-22 school calendar were approved. Five local holidays were added: one after Thanksgiving and four at Christmas.
Also OKd were the dates for the extended school year for special education instruction to run from 8 a.m. to noon, July 12-29; and a summer school session for special education during the same hours, except no Fridays, from June 14-24.
The board approved the district’s audit report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. London and the directors publicly thanked Business Manager Sue Jordan, who retires soon, and any other staff members who contributed to this report.
Jeff Wagner, Jordan’s successor, and who has been working closely with the business office to ensure a smooth transition, was named as the district’s alternate member on the Seneca Highlands IU9 Cooperative Purchasing Board.
In his report to the directors, London said, the governor’s proposed budget seems very ambitious with modest increases for Smethport in basic education and special education subsidies.
“Meanwhile, the district’s budget is under development, and we could see a preview of it in March.”
Speaking about the district’s health and safety plan, London said, “Quarantines are not required for vaccinated employees as per the CDC, and a reminder to all students and staff that travel restrictions are still in effect.”
London said COVID numbers are improving locally, as are the school numbers. “We could be back to zero countable cases by Friday. We are hopeful that this is the week that McKean County emerges from ‘substantial.’”
The district, London noted, is” working on the $1.6 million Elementary and Secondary School Emergency relief grant that will help fund the 2021-22 and 22-23 school years as we recover from the pandemic.”
London noted the district plans to receive bids on a repaired refrigerator that is no longer needed in the cafeteria.