York Suburban board approves acting superintendent

Junior Gonzalez
York Dispatch

The York Suburban school board on Monday, Oct. 9, named a new chief to lead the school district after a nearly monthlong superintendent vacancy.

Larry R. Redding, a former superintendent of the Gettysburg Area School District, was approved unanimously by the seven York Suburban school board members present, filling the void left by Michele Merkle.

Merkle took an unexpected leave of absence on Sept. 14 and submitted a letter of resignation 11 days later.

Dr. Larry R. Redding, York Suburban School District acting superintendent, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. John A. Pavoncello photo

Board member Emily Bates was absent.

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Redding will lead the school district through the remainder of the school year or until a new superintendent is hired, according to York Suburban board President Lynne Leopold-Sharp.

The school board expects to name a permanent superintendent by spring 2018, with the chosen head to start no later than July 1.

Redding spent seven years as superintendent of Gettysburg Area Schools and has a total of 40 years of experience in public education in Pennsylvania, according to a news release.

He has a bachelor’s degree from Penn State, a master’s degree from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) and a doctoral degree from Widener University, the news release states.

The York Suburban school board has stayed largely mum about former superintendent Merkle’s departure.

Aside from talk about past initiatives in which they expected to hear Merkle's recommendation, no discussion was held regarding the former district head.

Once Redding's contract was approved, he took a seat next to Leopold-Sharp and delivered prepared remarks.

“The York Suburban community can view me as that bridge between that outstanding legacy and the start of a new era in excellence that will be forged when a new superintendent is selected by the school board later this school year,” he said.

“I’m confident that my expertise will serve the York Suburban School District well.”

Redding said his main priority as temporary head of the district will be addressing the needs of students in a long-term strategy that will last far beyond his tenure.

“Our success is not the result of what we do in one mile,” the avid marathon runner said metaphorically. “It’s the collective string of events.”

After the special board meeting centered on Redding’s hiring, the new York Suburban acting superintendent said he had just arrived at the district at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 9, and will be in meetings at district offices starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Redding had a short retirement — the former Gettysburg head left the Gettysburg Area School District after 11 years on June 30.

He said his focus later in the school year will be to assist the new board after municipal elections in November.

“A significant part of my energies in December (will be) to work with the school board in what they want to accomplish with a new replacement,” he said.

Redding made it clear that he does not intend to stay beyond his role as a “bridge” between permanent administrators.

“There’s no interest from me to be permanent,” he stated.

Redding's wife Janet also assured board members about Redding's temporary role as they plan a vacation next summer to Hawaii.

"You have him till June," she said jokingly.

Board vacancy: Leopold-Sharp said board members would appoint a replacement for departed board member Scott Eden in a public session at 7 p.m Monday, Oct. 16, at Valley View Elementary School.

Each candidate for Eden's seat will be allowed to give an opening statement and each will answer about three questions before board members deliberate on who to nominate and vote for, according to Leopold-Sharp.

After the vote, the chosen candidate will be sworn in that night as a member of the York Suburban school board, Leopold-Sharp said.

With Eden's replacement, four newly elected board members will join the York Suburban school board by December.