Dr. Victor Lesky, Nazareth Area School District's superintendent of schools, let his feelings show as he during Monday's Nazareth School Board meeting.
Normally a calm presence at board meetings, the compact, silver-haired veteran educator -- who has worked in the Nazareth Area School District for 36 years -- struggled to maintain his composure as he read aloud a letter that stated he would retire when his contract expires on July 4, 2012.
As he spoke of his wife and grown daughter -- both seated in the audience -- he gave up the struggle.
“There were probably too many nights I was not home,” he said, before trailing off. Lesky, who recently became a grandfather for the first time, rebounded quickly by noting -- with a smile -- that “there is a grandbaby I will be spending more time with.”
School board members expressed their sadness following the announcement.
“We're not happy, but we understand,” said board member Linda McDonald.
Vice Chairman Maurice Heller said board members were happy to have had the opportunity to work with Lesky for as long as they did.
Board member Darrell Crook, however, objected to one portion of Lesky's retirement letter.
At the end of Lesky's letter, he said, “I will always be proud to say I was a 'Blue Eagle.'”
Crook corrected Lesky's tense.
“I am a 'Blue Eagle,'” Crook said.
In brief remarks after Monday's meeting, Lesky said he plans to continue his work in education even after he retires as superintendent -- but no firm plans are in place.
The search for Lesky's replacement will begin soon, according to McDonald, chairwoman of the school board's personnel committee.
McDonald read a statement that was later handed out to the audience and members of the media.
It reads, in part:
“We will begin by identifying the needs of the district and take those needs into consideration as we search for a new superintendent. It is our intention to identify a qualified candidate in a timely manner to insure there is no disruption in school district processes and student services. We will consider qualified internal candidates first.”
Lesky started his career in the Nazareth Area School District in 1975 as a technology education teacher at . Lesky went on to become an assistant principal, the high school principal and, finally, superintendent.