Following public discussion at its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, September 25, the Board of School Directors of the Abington School District voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Jeffrey S. Fecher as the next Superintendent of Schools.
Fecher has served as Assistant Superintendent at Abington for six years.The vote from the Board of School Directors came on the heels of a September 13 meet and greet with Fecher, at which he reviewed in a presentation his mission and vision for Abington School District, as well as his experience that includes serving as an administrator and teacher across both secondary and elementary educational levels.
The Board of School Directors announced Fecher as the finalist for the position at its September 4, meeting after a two-and-a-half-hour interview conducted on August 21. There were some voices in the community that were disappointed that the search was not more expansive.
Board President Raymond McGarry, Esquire, explained that the questions the Board asked Fecher were informed by the public input provided via email and during a special meeting of the Board of School Directors on August 7. A letter from McGarry sent to the Abington and Rockledge communities on July 19, requested this input in order to help develop a profile of the next Superintendent.
“Appointing a superintendent is the most important job of a school board,” McGarry said. “Fortunately for us, we were able to adhere to the initial process we outlined in our July 9th letter following Dr. Sichel’s retirement announcement, in which I expressed our desire to consider internal candidates before having to hire a firm to conduct a lengthy and expensive search that would result in candidates unfamiliar to serving this unique community. We have been impressed with Dr. Fecher’s performance to date and have heard from community members who feel the same.”
Fecher, who has served Abington School District for 12 years, will succeed Dr. Amy F. Sichel, who announced her retirement in early July following a 42-year career in the District, 18 of which she served as Superintendent of Schools. Sichel’s retirement will be effective as of Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, at which point Fecher will begin his commission.
Previously, Fecher was principal of Abington Senior High School and principal-elect of Willow Hill Elementary School. Before joining Abington School District, he was a middle school assistant principal in Flemington-Raritan School District and an English teacher at Bordentown Regional High School both in New Jersey. He received a Doctorate of Education in educational and organizational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts degree in educational administration from Rider University, and a Bachelor of Arts from La Salle University.
Prior to voting, the Board of School Directors also reviewed Fecher’s contract, highlights of which are as follows:
– Appointed for a five-year term, effective Nov. 10, 2018, through June 30, 2023.
– Salary effective Nov. 10, 2018, will be $195,000, with annual raises of no less than two percent, contingent upon satisfactory performance.
– District will make an annual contribution of $7,000 to a tax-sheltered annuity, designated by Dr. Fecher.
– Dr. Fecher required to achieve objective performance standards to be published on District website.
– Annual bonus of no less than $2,500, contingent upon meeting objective performance standards.
– Fringe benefits to be the same as other administrative staff.
– Dr. Fecher agrees not to request a sabbatical leave except for restoration of health purposes.
“Tonight is a special night for me,” Fecher said following the Board’s decision. “I entered into the field of education because I wanted to influence the lives of young people, and what better way to make an impact than to lead one of the best school districts? I have been working toward the goal of becoming a superintendent, and to be appointed as the superintendent of a district that I know and love is humbling.
“I look forward to continuing to serve the communities of Abington and Rockledge alongside the 1,000-plus ASD staff members who make our District great, and advancing Abington’s legacy of excellence and achievement as we make a difference in the lives of our more than 8,300 students and their families. I am excited to have an impact on the future of public education and the opportunities for our students.”