October 2, 2016
School Director, Mrs. Patricia C. Lyons, passed away on Friday September 2, 2016. Pattie, a long time resident of Avon Grove, was a graduate of
Avon Grove High School and served the Avon Grove Board of School Directors for 18 ½ years. By policy the remaining Board members must appoint a replacement within 30 days of the vacancy.
A special meeting the members of the School Board was held on Thursday 9/29 where they selected a replacement for the vacancy in Region III. Three candidates were interviewed and each answered the same set of questions individually. The candidates are listed below with a couple highlights from their answers provided.
William (Bill) Wood - He is a professional storyteller who comes from a family of educators. He stated that the first responsibility of the board is the collection and application of funds to support the school district through taxation. Among strengths he points to experience with various schools as a storyteller having been a “fly on the wall” in the teacher’s lounges with an insider’s perspective into operations. He referenced charter schools, facilities, potential for increased enrollment and financial issues among challenges. He has a son who recently graduated from AGHS. Bill participated on a team developing the AGSD Strategic Plan and is well known to the Board and Administration.
Edward Hatchigian - He is retired, 15 yr resident of the community with a wide range of experience in Education including advanced degrees in just short of a Doctorate degree in Education. He has experience in administrative positions in the Philadelphia School District and a close connection to vocational school education. Among the challenges he felt that the financial concerns were significant in terms of exercising fiscal responsibility and the cost of education.
Lisa Lightner - She has two young children in the school system and works part time in a variety of roles primarily as an advocate for the improvement of Special Education programs. She is involved with the school district though PTA. The challenges she referenced included an economy that is recovering resulting in housing growth leading to enrollment increases. She felt the schools were at capacity and using trailers as something that needed to be addressed. She stated that school funding is not increasing appropriately with changing roles and that public education is a financial whipping boy that could not be taken for granted. She pointed to a need to collaborate with local municipalities to support the schools using road widening to accommodate school buses as a concern. Lisa also participated on the team developing the AGSD Strategic Plan and is well known to the Board and Administration.
The board praised all the candidates and required 3 rounds of voting to reach a majority of 5 votes for a single candidate. Ultimately a majority of the board aligned on Bill Wood who was sworn in by Judge Matthew Seavey at the meeting.
The voting by the school board members went as follows with changes in bold:
VOTE # 1
Wood - JB, PW, TL, HE
Hatchigian - CB, EF
Lightner - BW, BG
VOTE # 2
Wood - JB, PW, TL, EF
Hatchigian - CB
Lightner - HE, BW, BG
VOTE # 3
Wood - JB, PW, TL, HE, EF, HE
Lightner - BW, BG, CB
Key: HE- Herman Engel, BW - Bonnie Wolff, TL - Tracy Lisi, EF - Edward Farina, JB - Jeff Billig, CB- Charles Beatty, BG - Brian Gaerity, PW - Patrick Walker