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Hempfield Area superintendent, business manager quit

By Richard Gazarik
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

The Hempfield Area School Board on Monday accepted the resignations of Superintendent Andy Leopold and business manager Jude Abraham.

Leopold had been on medical leave since February, and the school board has been secretive about details of his absence, refusing to answer questions about his abrupt departure.

His resignation was not on the formal written agenda at the meeting on Monday, and the issue was not raised until late in the session.

In a letter to faculty and staff on Tuesday, Leopold offered no hint about why he quit.

“As you know, last evening (Monday) I resigned my position as your superintendent of schools of the Hempfield Area School District. I have been proud to serve beside you over the past seven years and have been blessed by the dedicated people who have always placed the interest of our students first,” Leopold wrote.

“The daily efforts of each of you make Hempfield a special place for every child that enters our schools. Please continue to appreciate and support every person in all roles of our district. Each of you is an integral part of what makes Hempfield successful. Always keep kids at the heart of your work,” the letter said. “We have undergone many positive advances together, and as I move on personally and professionally, I look forward with pride to follow the district's continued growth.”

Leopold could not be reached for comment. He had been replaced by interim Superintendent Barbara Marin, who is expected to be named superintendent.

During the selection process for Leopold, he was not the first choice among several school board members, who favored Marin for the post. Leopold and Marin were the only candidates following the resignation of former superintendent Terry Foriska.

Abraham has been business manager for more than five years. He said he has accepted a job with Source4Solutions, a New Jersey educational staffing firm. The company advises school districts on manpower needs from kindergarten through 12th grade. His last day will be June 10.

“It's going to be a good opportunity,” Abraham said. “I love this school district.”

Abraham's departure comes as he prepares the district's budget for the 2014-15 school year. During his first three years as business manager, Abraham was able to avoid tax hikes. But the board has been forced to raise taxes slightly the past two years and likely will have a modest tax increase in the upcoming school year. He increased the budget surplus from $2.9 million to $13 million.

Abraham was hired in 2008. Three years later, the board reorganized the administration, segregating administrative and financial responsibilities and placing Abraham on par with Leopold. Instead of reporting to Leopold, Abraham reported to the school board.

Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or at rgazarik@tribweb.com.

 

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