Allied News Staff Writer
Dr. Richard Mextorf is in his final months as superintendent of the Grove City Area School District as he prepares to begin a new job leading the Hamburg Area School District.
“It’s been a wonderful experience,” Mextorf said Wednesday, two days after Hamburg school directors in Berks County hired him to replace retiring superintendent Steven Keifer.
Mextorf will begin his post in Hamburg July 1; school officials said they are pleased to have Mextorf on board to successfully lead the district to meet the needs of students and staff, and serve the community, according to a news release issued Monday by the board.
“Dr. Mextorf is an exemplary education leader who has served as an advocate for students and has forged meaningful relationships with all educational constituents he has worked with over the years,” the release said.
Mextorf, who hails from Williamsport, started working in Grove City in 2011, replacing Dr. Robert Post, who retired. Mextorf previously served as superintendent for the State College Area School District.
He and his wife Kathy have “loved every minute” of their time in Grove City, and he said considering the move was a difficult decision. The main reason he applied for the Hamburg job is to be closer to family, he said.
“We want to watch our grandchildren grow up,” Mextorf said; they have two grandchildren.
In the meantime, he will continue to work with the Grove City school board on the 2015-16 budget, make staffing recommendations, and move forward with the Grove City 2040 Plan – the next step is a report of the work that has been completed.
The 2040 Plan is a master plan that focuses on the district’s facilities and educational programs for the next 25 years. It also includes a citizens advisory committee -- seven sub committees each led by a board member, administrator and architect/engineer; 17 citizens are involved.
Projects like the 2040 Plan are a good example of how Mextorf is always learning something new, he said.
In leaving Grove City, Mextorf said he’ll miss interacting with the staff on a daily basis, celebrating student accomplishments and being part of the community; he’s a board member of the Grove City Rotary Club, Grove City Arts Council and the YMCA, and he sings with the Bach Society.
“There are so many things that I’m going to miss,” said Mextorf, who had to take some time off in 2013 to recover from colorectal cancer, and testicular cancer in 2012.
He thanks everyone in Grove City for a wonderful experience over the last four years, and he encourages his successor to lead the district with energy and enthusiasm.
“It is a wonderful community, an outstanding school district and a tremendous leadership team,” Mextorf said.
Board President Sue Herman said Wednesday that Mextorf has done an amazing job in growing the district’s leadership team and focusing on the quality of education; that includes a now-permanent math coach position and the 2040 Plan.
“We’re very sorry to see him go. We wish him well,” she said.
The board will have to appoint an interim superintendent while they search for a permanent replacement, and search consultants are expected to attend Monday’s board meeting, Herman said; it starts at 7 p.m. in the district’s main offices.
It’s an amiable parting and Mextorf has gone through the proper protocols to notify the board that he applied for another job, she said, confirming that it was not discussed during a public meeting.
Public records and the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act have been debated by the board, Allied News and community members at various points throughout Mextorf’s time in Grove City.
Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel with the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, said on Thursday that if the board discussed the superintendent’s position during a personnel executive session, they would have been required to announce the reason for the executive session.
Saying just “personnel” would not be enough detail, but the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act wouldn’t require the board to specify they were discussing Mextorf’s position, she said.
The board is required to vote on Mextorf’s resignation during a public meeting, she added.
Also debated was controversy surrounding Mextorf’s hiring in April 2011. He pleaded guilty in May 2011 to drunken driving charges stemming from a November 2010 arrest in Clinton County, where he was stopped by state police for erratic driving, according to Allied News files.
He soon resigned from the State College Area School District. His sentence included 15 days’ house arrest with an electronic monitoring device, six months’ parole, a 12-month suspension of his driver’s license and a $1,000 fine.
Mextorf had been open with Grove City school board about his arrest. Community members attended numerous board meetings, voicing their concerns about Mextorf, and school directors had said he was the best candidate.
Published May 2, 2015, in Local News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.