One theory for school superintendent's sudden departure is off the table

Meredith Willse
York Dispatch

One subject was conspicuously absent from the Red Lion Area School District's board meeting Thursday: The status of Superintendent Scott Deisley.

Board members held an executive session late Thursday night on personnel matters but did not publicly raise the issue of Deisley's leave of absence. Nor have any school officials answered questions about Deisley.

The school confirmed rumors that Deisley was on leave — a few months before his planned retirement — in an Oct. 14 letter from the board to Red Lion parents and families. Deisley was replaced by Eric Wilson, the district’s chief instructional officer. The letter did not explain Deisley's departure. 

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Deisley announced in April that he would retire Jan. 11, 2023, after serving the district for 11 years.

A state Department of Education database showed that Deisley's commission qualification letter had expired, but a department spokesperson clarified that it was still valid. The letter currently runs from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2025, and does not expire when the commission ends. It is valid unless revoked or suspended, the spokesperson said.

Thus, one possible theory for Deisley's sudden leave of absence — that his certification had lapsed — is off the table.

The Red Lion Lions Club is proud to recognize Makenzie Zagroba who was selected as the Red Lion Area Senior High School Student of the Month for March 2022. Pictured are Makenzie Zagroba and Dr. Scott Deisley, immediate past president. submitted

Rumors of Deisley’s departure have circulated in the community, but The York Dispatch has not been able to confirm them yet. School officials, board members and others have not responded or have declined requests for comment. The Dispatch has requested documents revolving around Deisley’s departure through a public records request. 

The Dispatch also reached Desiely at his home Oct. 13, where he said “there will always be rumors” before refusing to comment further. 

His name is still on the district’s website as superintendent. 

Board members Eric Wilson, on left, and Christine Crone, on right, at a school board meeting in Red Lion on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022.

The search for a new superintendent was underway, according to school officials. The district posted on its website that the search had begun in July. In the recent letter, the board said additional information on the superintendent search and timeline will be forthcoming. 

During the meeting, the board approved all the items on the consent agenda, which included financial reports and support staff substitutes, and the action agenda, which included salaries for 2022-2023 and a Red Lion Bus Inc. driver who is a relative of board vice president Stephen Simpson. Simpson sat out of that vote. 

Deisley, as well as being a Red Lion superintendent, also serves as a superintendent of York County School of Technology and was named August 2021 as the next chair of the United Way of York County’s board of directors. 

He was also named “York County’s Most Influential People for 2022 in Education by the York Daily Record,” according to a Sept. 19 post on the district’s Facebook page. 

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"Congratulations and thank you, Dr. Deisley, for the steady goodwill you bring to our District and for leading by positive example," the district wrote. "We appreciate you!"

The district also announced on Sept. 23 that Deisley won the 2022 Junior Achievement Bronze Leadership Award. 

The next board meeting is 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Red Lion Area Education Center, 696 Delta Road, Red Lion. The meeting room only allows 30 people to be present. All others can join through Zoom. More information about the call is listed on the board's webpage.

— Reach Meredith Willse at mwillse@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @MeredithWillse.

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