Northampton Press

Friday, November 16, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEINNorthampton Area School District Superintendent of Schools Joseph S. Kovalchik, in front, sits with NASD Director of Operations Robert J. Yanders, left, and NASD Business Administrator Terry A. Leh during the Oct. 22 school board meeting. Both Yanders and Leh are retiring in 2019. PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEINNorthampton Area School District Superintendent of Schools Joseph S. Kovalchik, in front, sits with NASD Director of Operations Robert J. Yanders, left, and NASD Business Administrator Terry A. Leh during the Oct. 22 school board meeting. Both Yanders and Leh are retiring in 2019.

NASD operations director, business administrator to retire

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in School

Two top, longtime Northampton Area School District officials are retiring.

The NASD Board of Education voted unanimously 9-0 at its Oct. 22 meeting to accept the resignations of Robert J. Yanders, NASD director of operations, for retirement, effective Aug. 13, 2019, and Terry A. Leh, NASD business administrator, for retirement, effective June 30, 2019.

NASD Superintendent of Schools Joseph S. Kovalchik said the district will begin a statewide search for their replacements, with ads expected to be placed beginning the week of Oct. 29 for the duration of about a month. After applications are reviewed, interviews with prospective candidates will be set up.

“The goal is to have everyone in place by March,” Kovalchik said.

Leh and Yanders will work with successors to ease transitions.

Yanders, who turns 62 Aug. 13, 2019, has 25 years of experience with the district. He worked closely with Kovalchik on district facilities and maintenance.

Leh, who turned 62 Oct. 21, has 10 years of experience with the district. He worked closely with Kovalchik on the district budget.

“I don’t think you can ever replace people like Terry (Leh) and Bob (Yanders) because of their unique skills and collaborations within the organization. You can never replace that experience,” Kovalchik said after the Oct. 22 board meeting.

“We’ve had discussions about [Yanders’ and Leh’s retirements],” Kovalchik said. “We’ve been planning now for months, and we’re going to continue to plan.

“When people retire, we look at their job description and see if we can distribute their responsibilities or add to them,” Kovalchik said.

“We’re going to replace Terry and Bob, but we’re not going to hire additional personnel,” Kovalchik added.

Kovalchik will meet with Leh and Yanders. Each will have input into the job descriptions.

“We enjoyed working here,” Leh said after the school board meeting. “My wife and I discussed this (retirement) for six months. It’s hard to leave a job when it’s something you love.”

“That’s for sure,” Yanders added. “We love it here.”

Yanders, a Northampton High School Class of 1975 graduate, was a Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical student.

He began in 1976 and continued as an NASD maintenance person until 1981.

He obtained a master electrician license, working for BEI Electrical (formerly Bollinger Electric) and West Side Hammer Electric (formerly West Side Electric), and rejoined NASD in 1999 as assistant supervisor of buildings and grounds.

Yanders was appointed NASD supervisor of buildings and grounds in 2001. His title was changed in 2002 to NASD director of operations.

“I was involved with every renovation and new construction project here: George Wolf Elementary School, Moore Elementary School, Siegfried Elementary School, Northampton Area High School and Northampton Area Middle School,” Yanders said after the Oct. 22 board meeting.

Yanders and his wife, Lynne, who have been Moore Township residents, have four children, and plan to retire in Maine.

Leh was recruited by NASD school board President David Gogel and the former NASD superintendent of schools Dr. Linda Firestone when they worked together with the Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School Board of Directors.

Leh, a Nazareth Area High School Class of 1974 graduate, has had 27 years of school district business administrator experience, having previously worked for Bethlehem Area School District, Nazareth Area School District and Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School.

Leh and his wife, Linda, of Palmer Township, have three children.

Asked about retirement plans, Leh said after the Oct. 22 board meeting, “I haven’t actually decided yet, but I know it’s not going to have anything to do with numbers.”