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Schuylkill County News

Zwiebel Out-ish as Pottsville Area Superintendent

Pottsville Area school board members voted unanimously on Tuesday to grant Superintendent Jeffrey Zwiebel an extended medical leave.

The vote came during special board meeting held in front of live human beings for the first time in several months due to the pandemic response.

Seemingly, this move would end Zwiebel’s tenure as Superintendent, though he’ll hold the position, presumably, until the end of his contract on April 5, 2021.

In his place, the board also approved Jared Gerace, the principal at John S. Clarke Elementary School in Pottsville, as the Interim Superintendent in Zwiebel’s absence.

Zwiebel Granted Medical Leave – Out (Kinda) as Superintendent at Pottsville

After school board members voted to approve the medical leave for Zwiebel, a volley of applause rang around the auditorium at DHH Lengel Middle School. Most of those in attendance appeared to be teachers at Pottsville Area.

Earlier this year, the Pottsville Area teachers union registered a nearly unanimous vote of no confidence in Zwiebel.

During a public comment period, some people expressed their feelings on life at Pottsville Area under Zwiebel’s leadership, or lack thereof, per their remarks.

Former Business Manager Brian Manning didn’t hold back. He said the board, on Tuesday, was “making an excellent decision” in choosing Gerace as Interim Superintendent.

During his comments, Manning said Zwiebel was at times “incompetent” and had a “vindictive nature”.

He brought about “turmoil and demise for this district,” Manning said.

A former teacher at Pottsville Area, John Powers, also spoke during the public comment period. He believes the current situation at the district is ripping apart the community.

He said he’s been “blocked from a basement from somewhere in Florida” over his appall at name-calling and personal attacks on that page. Powers thinks this is poisoning the community.

“Stop the personal attacks,” he begged. “I’m appalled about what happened on that website.”

To counter, Thomas – on a live stream video following the meeting said, “There are no basements in Florida.”

Of course, it should be noted that after Powers called for an end to personal attacks, the next few speakers laid into Zwiebel with personal attacks and the crowd cheered as his soft-core firing.

Medical Leave of Absence

Since Zwiebel is technically not getting fired and just placed on leave of absence, he’ll still get paid through the length of his contract. The school board voted to put Gerace at a salary of $112,000 and subject to an annual review.

The medical leave can extend all the way until Zwiebel’s contract with Pottsville Area School District expires on April 5, 2021. This agreement would also be subject “to his continuing need for leave stated by medical verification, as per board policy.”

To rearrange the deck chairs, so to speak, within the schools, the board also approved some other staff changes. Caitlin Mohl will now serve as interim Middle School principal. Michael Maley will move from Middle School principal to Elementary School principal to replace Gerace.

Maley’s salary will stay the same, even with the job shift. Mohl will get paid $92,000 next school year.


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Frank

    July 10, 2020 at 8:37 am

    “There are no basements in Florida.”

    Great line!

  2. Pingback: Superintendent Out? Pottsville School Board Calls Special Meeting for Tuesday - Coal Region Canary

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