The Athens Area School District board of education introduced incoming superintendent Diane Place at Tuesday’s meeting.
Place, who comes to Athens after serving as superintendent of the Towanda Area School District since 2006, was hired in December to succeed current superintendent Doug Ulkins. Place will serve as assistant superintendent from Feb. 13 until Aug. 1, when Ulkins’ retirement takes effect.
Ulkins, who said he has known Place for many years, said he was pleased the board chose her to serve as the district’s next superintendent.
Place is “a real, true advocate of public education,” Ulkins said. “She will serve this district extremely well.”
Place thanked the board for the opportunity to serve the district.
“I started my career here, and I’m happy to come back,” she said.
The board also shared a short presentation played at a Pennsylvania School Board Association conference regarding the Stand Up For Public Education initiative, which several members recently attended.
The board played a video about the program, which highlights the benefits of a strong, community-oriented public education system. Following the video, students from SRU Middle School and Athens Area High School performed a dance.
One student, high school senior Sam Ellis, said participating in clubs such as the Interact Club, a community service group, and Athens Student Actors Guild, the school’s drama club, has given him skills to use as he continues beyond high school.
“The entire public school system has really benefited me,” Ellis said, “and prepared me for the real world after this year.”
The board passed a resolution supporting Stand Up For Public Education in December. In it, the district resolves to “promote increased awareness of the great successes of our students, teachers and schools and be proactive in sharing the good news about our community schools and create an atmosphere of pride.”
The board will next meet on Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. at Harlan Rowe Junior High School. The meeting will follow a 6 p.m. board recognition dinner.
Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.