Baugh stepping down as Lewisburg Area School District superintendent

May 21—LEWISBURG — After almost two years on the job, Lewisburg Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Baugh is leaving the district.

Baugh said she wants to be closer to her husband who is in Colorado. She will become the superintendent at Garfield County School District 16 in Parachute, Colorado.

“We’ve been doing a long-distance relationship and that’s been difficult,” said Baugh.

Legal teams are still finalizing contracts with the Colorado school board so Baugh said her last day in Lewisburg is in limbo.

Baugh has approximately 30 years in educational leadership. She took the role in Lewisburg on July 1, 2020. She began as a high school English teacher and, in 2005, moved into administrative roles. She earned a doctorate from Lehigh University and has degrees from La Salle University, the University of Pennsylvania and Delaware Valley University. She replaced Steven Skalka, who served as Lewisburg Area superintendent from 2017 to 2020.

According to School Board President Dr. Virginia Zimmerman, the board has to vote on an interim replacement but says it is likely Assistant Superintendent Cathy Moser will take over in an interim capacity.

“I don’t know yet about a timeline for a search,” Zimmerman said. “With Cathy as interim, we can feel confident business will continue smoothly and we can take some time to get ready for the search.”

Baugh said her departure is bittersweet.

“It feel bittersweet because this is a great district and great community. I just wish it was in Colorado,” Baugh said.

She said the district will continue with normal summer work, paying attention to HVAC improvements, and making sure personnel are staffed up.

“There’s just the normal tidying that goes into the next school year,” Baugh said. “For me, it’s business as usual until it’s my last day.”

Baugh noted Colorado will have a different climate.

“I’m not going to miss the rain,” she said. “But I’m going to miss how beautiful and lush our farmland is, because I think about my backyard.”

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She said her tenure as superintendent was different because she started during a pandemic.

“I’m definitely going to miss seeing the kids I’ve come to know just by working with them directly, or their teachers, just to see how they grow,” Baugh said. “That’s the stuff I think you miss.”

Zimmerman said the district is grateful for the “outstanding leadership Dr. Baugh has shown during her time with Lewisburg.”

Zimmerman said the district is well-positioned to “continue its traditions of excellence.”

“While we regret we had so little time with Dr. Baugh, we understand this move is motivated by personal circumstances and is the right one for her and her family,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said Lewisburg is a community that lifts up the humanity in each person.

“Guided by that core value, we can only wish Dr. Baugh all the best as she transitions to a new position and new home in Colorado,” she said.

Board member Jordan Fetzer said it was unfortunate to lose Baugh.

“She has been a great asset to our district,” Fetzer said.

Fetzer said in December he warned the board changes in leadership and possible instability are often reasons superintendents leave. Fetzer was board president prior to Zimmerman.

“Dr Baugh will certainly be missed in the district,” Fetzer said.

“She is doing what is best for her family. I wish it wasn’t the case as I believe she wishes it wasn’t the case,” said board member Cory Heath. “She has done a good job. I wish the circumstances were different.”

District parent Jen Coughlin has students in eighth and 11th grades. Coughlin previously was support staff at Donald H. Eichhorn Middle School.

“If it’s what she wants, I’m happy for her,” Coughlin said.

She said she doesn’t believe Baugh’s departure changes anything.

“I didn’t agree with a lot of her decisions. I had seen some of the internal changes,” Coughlin said.

Family from Ukraine

Baugh is a first-generation American and college student. She was born in Philadelphia but her family is from Ukraine.

“I learned Ukrainian before I learned English,” Baugh said.

Baugh commented on the ongoing Ukrainian crisis.

“I have no expertise in global politics,” she said.

Baugh said it was hard to see millions of people’s lives get turned upside down in one day. She said it is sad children these days grow up in a constant state of war.

“It’s scary,” she said. “That’s the thing about the United States. We bring people in.”

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