Update: Pottsgrove Approves Leadership Changes

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – In a single action on a list of 14 different personnel items, and without comment, the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors on Tuesday (Aug. 10, 2021) unanimously approved resignations, appointments, and assignment changes among members of its leadership team. It resulted in the departure of some school district employees, introduced new ones, and gave new duties to others.

The unified approval:

  • Accepted the resignations of Pottsgrove Middle School Principal Matthew Boyer, district Director Of Technology Tony Bickert, and Hector Wangia, who also teaches high school biology;
  • Appointed Dr. Felicia Gonzalez, to succeed Boyer at the middle school; changed the duties of Dr. David Ramage to become Bickert’s successor; and appointed Pottsgrove High School psychologist Jonathan Veser to succeed Wangia as the new high school dean of students;
  • Named Amy Thompson to succeed retired district Assistant Superintendent Dr. Robert Harney as district director of human resources; and also
  • Dealt with personnel issues affecting many other district employees.

Board Vice President Al Leach later said it was “really awesome” to welcome newly arriving employees. Board member Bill Parker agreed, and also praised incoming Superintendent Dr. David Finnerty as a man of “amazing” passion who Parker said had a clear plan for the district’s progress.

The personnel items also included the resignation of Laurie Bickert as confidential secretary to the superintendent. Finnerty took time to single her out for audience applause, and offered public thanks for her assistance during the administrative transition.

Read The Post’s earlier story below, published Tuesday (Aug. 10), about the then-proposed personnel changes.

Pottsgrove Seeks Leadership Changes in Key Roles

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Three leadership-level individuals have tendered their resignations from employment in the Pottsgrove School District, and their letters of departure are scheduled to be acted on Tuesday night (Aug. 10, 2021).

Resigning – according to the district Board of School Directors’ agenda, publicly released ahead of its 7:30 p.m. in-person meeting at Pottsgrove High School – are:

  • Matthew Boyer, Pottsgrove Middle School principal, effective July 9;
  • Tony Bickert, district director of technology, effective July 30; and
  • Hector Wangia, who worked at the high school succeeding the late Todd Van Horn as its interim dean of students, and as a biology teacher, effective July 21.

Additionally, Laurie Bickert, confidential secretary to the superintendent, also has resigned effective Aug. 20.

Stepping into vacancies, according to appointments also listed on the agenda, are:

  • Dr. Felicia Gonzalez, to succeed Boyer at the middle school, with a yet-to-be-determined effective date. She currently serves as assistant principal at Muhlenberg Junior High School in the Reading area’s Muhlenberg School District. Her starting date in Pottsgrove depends on when she is released from earlier employment, the agenda stated. She is slated to earn an annual salary of $115,000, it added.
  • Dr. David Ramage, who occupied the position of Pottsgrove’s director of integration for learning and instruction, will have his assignment changed to become Bickert’s successor as director of technology, effective Aug. 2. The agenda states his salary will remain unchanged.
  • Jonathan Veser, who occupied the position of high school psychologist, will succeed Wangia as the new high school dean of students and also as a teacher on special assignment for the 2021-2022 school year. The “interim” portion of Wangia’s earlier title appears to have been excluded, despite the 12-month limit of Veser’s appointment. The effective starting date is Aug. 10. The status of his salary, whether changed or not, was not provided.
  • Brandi Berwager, to succeed Wangia in his role as a biology teacher. Her effective date also depends upon release from a previous employer, and she is scheduled to earn a salary of $53,946, the agenda indicated.

Additionally, Amy Thompson has been tapped by Pottsgrove’s administration to succeed retired district Assistant Superintendent Dr. Robert Harney as district director of human resources, effective July 19. Her annual compensation, reported in the agenda, will be $120,000.

The changes in leadership roles occur as Dr. David Finnerty begins his tenure as district superintendent. All agenda items must be approved by the school board to take effect. The board’s meeting is free to attend and open to the public. Parking is available near the high school cafeteria entrance, which is closest to the instruction room where the session will be held. The agenda is available for download from the district website, here.

The board has yet to decide when, if at all, it will select a new assistant superintendent to succeed Harney.

Also scheduled for discussion Tuesday is the district’s 2021-2022 health and safety plan, which in part directs how Pottsgrove will operate in the continually changing conditions of the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo by The Post