Effective  July 1, the Allentown School District will have a new Superintendent, Gerald L. Zahorchak, D.Ed.,, who currently serves as the Secretary of Education of Pennsylvania. Quite impressive to land such a well-connected high ranking official. 

The press release announcing Dr. Zahorchak’s appointment, lists his many credentials and qualifications, not the least of which are…

** His documented ability to coalesce diverse groups of educators and community leaders to reach strategic goals

** Leading the Commonwealth’s educational community so that each individual can grow into an inspired, productive and fulfilled lifelong learner

** Restructuring the focus on workforce development education to increase student placement into high-demand, higher paying jobs

** Working closely with local school board officials and superintendents to provide property tax relief to Pennsylvanians

Zahorchak’s salary will be $195,000 a year plus benefits, for the length of his five year contract. It was not specified whether a flack jacket and personal security detail were included.

Considering the news reports coming out of Allen High School this past week that ranged from a slashing incident to the disappearance of a female student who told her parents she was terrified of the violence at school,  it seems  Dr. Zahorchak has his work cut out for him.

Welcome to Allentown. Good luck. And could you please focus on that property tax relief thing?

11 thoughts on “Welcome to Allentown: ASD Names New Superintendent”

  1. pam, you write; “Quite impressive to land such a well-connected high ranking official.”
    he was appointed by rendell, and would have likely been out the door come january. marge Paterson (sp) did a good job profiling three of the candidates. (if she did the fourth, i missed it). i actually favored the two others, because of big city experience for one, and an improvised system for the other. zahorchak was somewhat responsible for allentown being on the distressed list, because of the testing system, which in addition to english as a second language issue, also tested special ed students, another questionable variable. never the less, i do have faith in our school board and their decision, and join you wishing him (and us) success.

  2. Clem Kadiddlehopper

    $200K per year and a five year commitment to a ultra lefty Rendell crony.

    I sincerely hope you are not expecting Hope and Change, or are not hoping for change…

  3. This guy has his work cut out for him. If his emphasis is working with community groups to better education, I’ll invite him over for breakfast some day and we can watch the kids stream into Central Elementary from my back yard patio. He might be surprised to see the behavior, littering and general disregard for the neighbors. That should set the tone for his tenure here in Allentown.

    His reputation from my friends in Johnstown is pretty good. I am guardedly optimistic.

  4. This guy should spend a week with me.

    We will observe the parade of students making their way to William Allen High School in the area of West Park.

    Perhaps I will take some time off of work and we can watch the procession AFTER school lets out, too.

    This would involve observations of classic mob scenes.

    Perhaps I can introduce him to my neighborhood corner store owner who locks his door everyday from 3 PM to 4 PM.

    “Don’t you want the business?” I asked him one day.

    “Not worth the risk,” was the official response.

    Perhaps, if we are really lucky, the new School Super and I can witness another slashing incident or gang fight.

  5. He can come to my house and watch the kids stream out of Raub starting fights, breaking windows and placing graffiti on our houses and garages while they scream obscenities at each other and anyone who asks them to behave civilly.

    Actually, spending time with citizens and resolving some of the basic citizenship issues may go a very long way in improving the educational environment. Remember Joe Clark, the principle with the Bat in Patterson NJ of Lean on Me fame?

  6. Clem,

    I’m very impressed with your emphasis on correct grammar; did you have Miss Potser for sentence structure, too?

    As for that hope and change thing. Not to worry. I stopped looking for that months ago.

  7. Geoff, I too, am guardedly optimistic. The guy has a broad base of experience from having been in the classroom, to being a football coach, to surviving the politics of Harrisburg.

    Heaven knows we need someone with a unique set of skills to turn around this disaster we call a school district. Hopefully, he’ll focus on the behavior of the students and not on politics.

  8. Rolf,

    I agree, if the new Superintendent is serious about turning around the district, he should get in the trenches and spend time with outside when students are coming and going.

    I’ve gotten to the point where is I’m on my way to or from home when Allen is starting or dismissing, I take another route. That mob is terrifying even is you’re sitting in your locked car. I can only imagine what it would be like to have them in your backyard.

  9. Bill,

    I just put up a similar comment before I read yours…I hope the same thing, that this guy interacts with real people whose properties are affected by the behavior of these out of control mobs. What most “educators” don’t realize is that the “bat” theory is what works because all these kids have ever learned is about the power of violence. You can’t reach them any other way, at least at first.

    Hope this new Superintendent doesn’t let us down.

  10. I would suggest each of you who wishes to invite the new Superintendent to view the parade of students, do so. You might be very surprised to find he just might accept the invitation.

    While at it, why don’t you also invite members of the School Board and City Council. Publish the names of those who accept and those who do not in this blog.

    It is time for action in Allentown, not empty statements and or promises.

    There are a ton of bright ideas about what Allentown should be like, mostly from people who either live in the deep ends of the city or not in the city at all.

    Step up to the plate time. Play ball!

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