Russell G. Fay will be the new director of special services in the Vernon Township School District, starting after spring break.
The school board unanimously approved his appointment on Feb. 11. His prorated salary is $120,000 for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. He will make the full amount in 2021-22.
Earlier in the meeting, the school board approved the resignation of Adam Kendler, supervisor of special services, effective Feb. 26. Another supervisor, Cheryl von Salzen, will retire at the end of the school year. Between Kendler’s resignation and Fay’s start in mid-April, von Salzen will be the district’s only supervisor.
“We have this very odd ebb and flow happening from March 1 through the end of the school year,” Superintendent Karen D’Avino said.
While Fay is adjusting to his new position, the district will only have one special services director and one supervisor.
Therefore, she asked for – and the board of education approved on Feb. 18 – special education coordinators in Cedar Mountain, Lounsberry Hollow and Rolling Hills primary schools.
“I’m worried with all these things changing so rapidly,” D’Avino said.
These coordinators will schedule classes and aides, keep all programs supplied, and make sure special-needs students have the appropriate accommodations for state testing, which is still required and already scheduled. The coordinators do not need a supervisor’s certificate, and they will not be called on to evaluate others.
They will be paid a prorated stipend of $5,025 from March 1 to June 30.
D’Avino wants to revisit this issue after the school year ends.
“Coming off Covid, for our special-needs population, we have to make sure we’re proving proper accommodations,” D’Avino said. “Having teachers who really know special ed will make me feel more comfortable. This is hard enough as it is coming out of Covid, but having as many supports as we can as are affordable to support our population would be money well-spent.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated.
“Coming off Covid, for our special-needs population, we have to make sure we’re proving proper accommodations.” Superintendent Karen D’Avino