Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oley School Board Hires Controversial Superintendent

The Oley School Board decided to hire Dr. Tracy S. Shank despite making public commitments they would not do so until her legal issues had been resolved.
Dr. Tracy has been charged with giving a false report to the Stewartstown Police about details regarding her request to investigate a man she believed was following her.

The former Superintendent of the Southeastern School District interviewed for the Assistant Superintendent opening in Oley after the retirement of Dr. Stubits.

At a recent meeting, Dr. Jeffery Zackon issued a statement that the district would not hire the applicant until an investigation had been completed.

Dr. Shank has an arraignment hearing on October 29, 2010.

Board member John Bieber asserted that her legal problems did not change his mind that she was the best candidate for the position of Assistant Superintendent. Mr. Bieber who is Chairman of the Personnel Committee did not like the idea of re-interviewing job applicants, either.

Another board member, Mr. Hannum went further when he impugned the validity of the case against Dr. Shank.

Members of the audience questioned the change of heart and why there was such a rush to hire her. They were also concerned about possible financial exposure to the district if they approved her hiring before her case is adjudicated.

At the time of the vote, she had not been released from her contract from Southeastern School District.

Board members who voted for hiring were, John Bieber, Robert Cappa, Ms. Joanne Ewing, Christopher Hannum, Stephen Burns, Ms. Sherry Shultz.

Board members who voted against were: Robert Heckman, Ralph Richard, Carl Kubitz.


  1. oley Asst Superintendent Hiring
    By Phil Ellingsworth Jr.
    Times Editor

    After a several month investigation by the Oley Valley School District, the board of school directors voted 6-3 Wednesday night to hire embattled assistant superintendent candidate Tracy S. Shank to a three-year contract.

    Board President Robert A. Heckman, and board members Ralph C. Richard and Carl J. Kubitz Jr. voted against the hiring of Shank.

    District solicitor John M. Stott said with the board’s vote, the South Eastern School District, where Shank currently serves as superintendent, should release her commission from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which will allow her to start working in the district as soon as Monday.

    Stott added Shank will not be paid retroactively from the time she was elected to serve as the district’s candidate on July 14.

    Stewartstown Police Department in York County charged Shank with one count of making false reports to law enforcement authorities after alleging she was stalked and harassed by a Caucasian man with a gray beard driving a dark-colored Toyota or Honda in late February and March 2. She faces arraignment at 9 a.m. Oct. 29 in Stewartstown, York County.

    Given the circumstances surrounding Shank, members of the community were upset the school board and administration was not waiting until the final outcome with Shank.

    Oley Township resident Cindy Smith said she is concerned about the hiring of Shank and is not quite sure why the district is not waiting until her arraignment and the trial proceedings are finished.

    “I think you people need to hold off on this,” Smith stated. “She’s trouble, she has been trouble.”

    Resident Al Jacobs said there is no reason for the district to rush and that they should wait to see what comes of her arraignment.

    “Wait until this thing is adjudicated,” said Jacobs.

    District superintendent Jeffery F. Zackon said the district is ready for Shank to come aboard because they need her to fill the position “as quickly as possible,” continuing the educational programs for the school district, especially with former assistant superintendent Linda G. Stubits retiring, working at Lehigh and Kutztown universities and becoming a new grandmother.

    Stott added to Zackon’s comments, explaining that Shank was elected as a candidate before she charges were brought against her and has been patiently waiting during the district’s investigation into the allegations brought against her.

    He said if she is found guilty, there is a clause in her contract that requires automatic resignation.

    But board member John C. Bieber is optimistic that will not be the case.

    Bieber said hopefully charges will be dismissed at the Oct. 29 trial proceedings, stating he fully supports the hiring of Shank, as the majority of the board was satisfied with her experience, background and qualifications the district was looking for.

    Bieber said that people and teachers in the district may be concerned with the appropriateness and look to hiring Shank before a final outcome, but explained that it could be approximately a year before a final outcome is made.

    “I have every confidence she will be cleared and this will become just a painful speed bump in her long and productive career in education,” he said. “Helping students where her heart is.”

    The next board meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 20.

  2. The Board wants us to believe that she is the very best candidate out there for this position and that no other would be as good? This is the most astounding move that the OVSB has made in many years. To engage this person with so much baggage hanging over her is mindless. What is the hurry? These secret, back room deals and decisions have become a symbol of the contempt they hold for the average taxpayer and citizen of the district.

  3. The process needed to be completed before approving contract.

  4. Why did a contract need to be approved at this point in time? What was the urgency? It isn't as if she is going anywhere else. It defies logic.

  5. Let us hope the woman is found innocent, otherwise, problems.

  6. This is what happens when school board members think that being a school board member is like being the President of the United States.

    Sitting through a school board meeting, having these people loving to hear themselves talk defies logic.

  7. I feel sorry for her, but life has consequences.

  8. Choices have consequences. Both she and the board chose poorly.

  9. This problem could drag on for years.

  10. Like the steel litigation? At least this problem won't cost the taxpayers millions of $.

  11. If a bus driver is subject to a criminal background check and it affects his or her employment, then an Assistant Superintendent should follow the same rules.

  12. Don't you know that there are always different rules for the ruling class? Afterall, they make the rules.

  13. OVSD Board Meeting

    Dr. Zackon formally introduced the new Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Tracy Shank to the school board and public.

    The board approved the transfer of $565,000.00 to the Capital Reserve Fund. There is already $3,000,000 dollars in the fund.

    Because there was millions in the fund, the question was asked if there are any major projects planned for the district.

    Board President Robert Heckman said there were none.

    To raise taxes to a point where
    $3,565,000 is sitting in a fund for no purpose raises other questions.

    Another $565,000 was put aside to cover teacher pension fund demands.

    There is $1,700,000 currently designated.

    PSERS pension expense will place hardships on school budgets.

    This problem is the result of boards approving generous teacher contracts and Harrisburg guaranteeing pension fund returns.

  14. That was a pretty lame coverage by the Eagle on the Kessler/Maloney forum last night. Has Kessler ever had an original thought? He just recites what the Democrat pollsters tell him people want to hear. Time for him to go back to just being a township supervisor. Then he can concentrate on bringing the kelp and algae fuel to Oley and we can get some real representation for us in Harrisburg.

  15. Kessler voted for $30,000,000 on pork which could have been used towards for property tax relief.

  16. What a nasty, mean spitited ad Kessler's gang is running on TV. The ad says Maloney voted to raise taxes six times. He was only on the school board four years. The ad also says that taxes have gone up each year for the past three years. Maloney wasn't even on the board and, besides, taxes in Oley HAVEN'T gone up each year. If the voters want another liar in Harrisburg then Kessler is the man.

  17. Staff at Oley Valley watchout. Watch your back. Hide your money. She is watching every move you make and she also will destroy evidence of her incompentcy by destroying detrimental notes shared by concerned citizens. She is above the law.