Mechanicsburg Area School District officials said goodbye to one of their own on Tuesday night.
Tuesday’s school board meeting was the last that Assistant Superintendent/CFO Alan Vandrew would attend as a district administrator, Superintendent Mark Leidy said. Vandrew is retiring at the end of the year after more than 30 years with the district.
“I’m blessed to have had a job that I loved,” Vandrew said on Tuesday. “I appreciate the support and leadership of our board. We have a good team here at Mechanicsburg.”
Vandrew started at Mechanicsburg in February 1988, according to his LinkedIn profile. Much change and growth has taken place in the district during his tenure. For instance, the district’s annual operating budget was around $15 million during Vandrew’s first year at Mechanicsburg, Leidy said. The school board approved a $70.5 million district budget for 2018-19 in June.
“I learned much from Alan as a young superintendent,” said Leidy, who assumed his current position with the district in 2010 after first serving as principal at Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School and later as assistant superintendent of academics, according to the district’s website.
“I’m hard-pressed to find an individual with more loyalty and integrity. I am honored to have worked with you. Thank you very much,” Leidy told Vandrew on Tuesday.
Vandrew’s position will be filled by Gregory Longwell, who currently serves as the district’s business administrator.
In other news, the school board on Tuesday approved final allocations totaling $140,000 to furnish a learning environment pilot that will be implemented later this year in several classrooms at the high school, middle school and Shepherdstown Elementary School.
In September, high school principal David Harris told the school board that flexible seating was one of several new endeavors at the high school this year that relate to the district’s new vision statement, “A Learning Community. Inspired to Explore — Empowered to Innovate.” The new instructional method encourages breakout areas for student collaboration.
“Learning is happening in a lot of different places now, like in hallways or in isolated pockets,” Harris said at that time. “Flexibility and choice are vital for students today.”
At the high school, five classrooms will receive new furniture as part of the the pilot program. The middle school is slated for new furniture in 13 classrooms, while Shepherdstown is scheduled for new furniture in six classrooms. However, Shepherdstown and the middle school won’t receive full sets of classroom furniture because those schools “made requests for the replacement of certain pieces or groups of furniture,” district business manager Gregory Longwell said on Wednesday.
The high school had one flexible classroom that was piloted last year, but Harris said in September that he wanted to see more established there during the 2018-19 school year.
Likewise, middle school principal Joel Yohn also told the school board in September that flexible seating would be implemented in some classrooms this year at the middle school.
Also on Tuesday, the Mechanicsburg Area School Board approved a donation of a box truck from Operation Wildcat. The truck will serve various Operation Wildcat initiatives. Truck operating costs will be divided between the district and Operation Wildcat.
Operation Wildcat may solicit community sponsorship through the placement of temporary truck decals as an annual fundraiser, according to district documents. An annual sponsorship plan must be submitted for review and approval by the district’s superintendent by May of each year.
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