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Lonardi says goodbye; West York board names acting superintendent

Junior Gonzalez
York Dispatch
Emilie Lonardi, superintendent of West York School District. Lonardi will be leaving her role at the end of June.

Outgoing Superintendent Emilie Lonardi bid farewell to the West York Area school board during Tuesday night's meeting, at which the board named an acting superintendent and announced a search for a permanent replacement.

Lonardi announced in April that she would leave the district after 19 years to serve as superintendent at the Downingtown Area School District in Chester County.

During her final report to the board Tuesday, Lonardi noted the district and the world have dramatically changed since her 1998 arrival in West York.

“When I arrived, there was no email,” she said with laughter from a well-attended audience. “Think about that.”

She cited improvements in school infrastructure and aid ratio during her tenure as well as the community engagement Lonardi said the residents have come to expect from the district.

“It has absolutely been my privilege to serve for 19 years in this district,” she said before receiving applause from board members and residents.

School board President Rodney Drawbaugh thanked Lonardi one last time for her service to the district.

"On behalf of the board, I wanted to thank you for 19 years of leadership," he said.

Approvals: The school board unanimously voted to approve Patricia Sanker as acting superintendent.

Sanker was the superintendent for the South Middleton School District in Boiling Springs for nearly 13 years and has been retired since 2013. She has degrees from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Shippensburg University and attained her doctorate at Penn State.

The board also voted to hire Templeton Advantage as the firm to facilitate the search for a new superintendent.

Templeton was the consulting firm that helped South Western School District recently find its new superintendent and also assisted West York in hiring Sanker as the acting superintendent.

Cost concerns: During public comment, a district resident expressed a desire for more information regarding the cost of the new acting superintendent, the consulting firm and whether Sanker was applying for a permanent role as superintendent.

Drawbaugh said the district would be paying Sanker $795 per eight-hour work day, which drew some gasps from the audience.

Board member Alan Moose mentioned the cost was calculated from a statewide average for acting superintendents, and the wage is without many of the typical benefits added to a district position, such as health insurance and vacation days.

Drawbaugh also said Templeton will be compensated $14,000 for its services, plus a maximum of $1,500 for travel costs.

Public meetings with candidates and with Templeton associates will occur over the next several months, according to Drawbaugh.

For more information on the superintendent search, residents are encouraged to visit www.wyasd.k12.pa.us/superintendent-search.