Martin makes strong first impression at work session

SARAH SMELTZ/THE EXPRESS Superintendent candidate Jacquelyn Martin speaks to the school board and members of the community at Thursday night’s Keystone Central School District work session. Martin is expected to be approved at next week’s school board meeting.

MILL HALL — Keystone Central School District superintendent candidate Jacquelyn Martin made her first impression to the public at Thursday night’s work session, which was held at the Central Mountain High School auditorium.

Martin’s presentation was near the top of the agenda and she made good use of limited time. During her presentation, she spoke about why she would be an asset to the district, replacing outgoing superintendent Dr. Alan Lonoconus, who is retiring.

For Martin, a 1986 graduate of Sugar Valley High School, taking over as superintendent in the Keystone Central School District would be a homecoming of sorts.

“Absolutely. It’s a great way to round out a career,” Martin said, shortly after the work session adjourned. “I’m doing something I’m passionate about and helping a community and serving a community that I truly and genuinely care about.”

During her presentation, Martin re-traced the path that has led her back to the area. She opened by talking about her daughter, Abby, a recent graduate of Penns Valley High School in Spring Mills. Abby is now a student at Lock Haven University.

SARAH SMELTZ/THE EXPRESS Keystone Central Superintendent candidate Jacquelyn Martin spoke a great deal about teamwork moving the district forward. “Our Team of Teams,” was one of the slides in her presentation.

Family, Martin said, is extremely important – and that’s why she featured it prominently in her presentation.

“I feel like people need to know who I am as a person as well as a professional. It’s just important to me,” Martin said.

Martin talked about her first several jobs while in high school. She was a carrier for The Express, a lifeguard at the Mill Hall Pool and a gymnastics instructor at the Lock Haven YMCA. She was a gymnast at Bald Eagle Nittany and competed on the gymnastics team at Lock Haven University.

After graduating high school, Martin went to Lock Haven University. Later, she earned a Master of Art in Education. She is a candidate in Doctor of Education in Education Administration Leadership.

During her professional career, she has worked for Pocono Mountain School District (1990-2005), Penns Valley Area School District (2005-2012) and State College Area School District (2012-present).

In short, Martin has worked for both small and large districts over the course of her career.

“Pocono Mountain had over 12,000 students when I was there, so it was a very large district. Penns Valley was less than 2,000 and State College was in the neighborhood of 6,000-7,000. (Keystone Central) is the perfect size. I have a large high school, but I also have that small community school in Bucktail and Renovo. I think I can relate to both types of schools in this district,” Martin said.

Martin said that coming back home to Keystone Central just feels like a perfect fit.

“I think that my path to the superintendency has been very unique compared to many folks who have maybe taught one thing and then moved into administration in one role and then moved into a superintendency. If you look at the variety of opportunities that I’ve had in the different types of districts and types of initiatives that I’ve had to lead, it kind of crosses over all of those areas,” Martin said matter-of-factly.

Martin’s presentation was broken down into three areas – her personal and professional journey, why the KCSD superintendency and an entry plan and future focus.

She entitled her entry plan and future focus “Listen, Learn, Read and Lead.”

During her presentation, Martin said that relationships are key to the success of any school district.

“Relationships matter,” she said. “The relationship not just with myself and the board, but also with the community, the district team, teachers with students … relationships are key to success at any school. I know that’s something we’ll be working hard over the next couple of months – to start building some relationships and getting to know folks.”

Although she’s never been in the superintendent role, that doesn’t intimidate Martin. She has plenty of contacts outside the district who she can call on, if needed.

“If I don’t know the answer, I certainly know how to go find the right person to help me,” she said. “I have a huge support group of superintendents inside of IU-10 and outside of IU-10. They’ve pledged their support to me. They’re just a phone call away and I look forward to be in a professional learning community with those superintendents moving forward as well,” Martin said.

Martin said that if she is approved next week, Dr. Lonoconus will play a vital role to assure a smooth transition.

“We’ve talked about the level of support that he needs to provide to me in the transition. I’d be foolish not to take advantage of his expertise and knowledge, not only of the district, but his experience as a superintendent guiding me forward,” she said.

The school board will vote on Martin’s status and finalize the contract at next week’s school board meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Central Mountain High School auditorium.

“Next week,” Martin said, “is a big week.”

In other business:

r Dr. Lonoconus presented each board member with a certificate celebrating and recognizing the challenging and vital work they do. Each board member also received a packet of notes from students thanking them for their time and involvement in the district.

“From a personal standpoint, I want to thank the board members for their service. I know this takes a lot of time and it’s very challenging at times, but we truly appreciate what you do for us,” he said.

The board is recognized every January.