Starting anew means search for new KC superintendent should commence

Tonight, the Keystone Central School Board is poised to approve a temporary contract with Dr. Alan J. Lonoconus to serve as district superintendent for one year, or – we believe – until a new, long-term superintendent is hired.

We’re unsure of the terms of the contract.

We know Dr. Lonoconus was hired as substitute-interim superintendent this past January after the former long-time superintendent did not return from winter break.

And so the 2018-2019 school year is about to begin.

But boy, it has been a long year at Keystone Central.

A massive budget deficit.

A series of citizen task force meetings culminating in numerous cost-cutting options.

Several dozen teachers furloughed.

Programs cut.

And more lately, what one could call a sizeable exodus of both administrators and teachers.

A started-then-suspended search and interview process for a new, permanent superintendent.

We’re gratified Dr. Lonoconus is at the helm.

Guided by a wealth of experience as an educator, administrator and superintendent at various school districts in Pennsylvania, Dr. Lonoconus’ steady leadership is just what Keystone Central has needed and continues to need.

But we also firmly believe the search for a new superintendent should not be delayed, and that the board should approach the search differently this time.

The recruitment process in the spring started then stopped rather suddenly. We don’t know why, exactly.

But let’s move forward … start anew.

We’re told Dr. Lonoconus will lead and/or help direct the search for a new leader.

The sooner Keystone hires a superintendent the better, and Dr. Lonoconus is the right mentor for the transition.

Too much has been in limbo at Keystone the past year.

We need to break out of this cycle whereby too many in the schools say “we can’t do that because …”

If some technique, some program or approach is good for improving student test scores, morale and participation, there must be a collective figuring out of how to get it done.

While one can look at the departure of so many staff as a bad omen, we believe there are still a lot of good people with intelligence, skill and talent at Keystone, and that their know-how and creativity has yet to be tapped.

The limiting of collaboration over the past decade must end.

Clearly, many of those still standing at Keystone are loyal, dedicated employees who want the district to improve and succeed.

It all comes down to empowering people.

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