The Altoona Mirror front page story focused on the hiring of a new superintendent in the Claysburg-Kimmel school district. The name was a familiar one to Backer because it was Mark Loucks, the current superintendent of the Franklin Area School District.
This was news to Backer - as well as her colleagues.
"Every board member I talked with today was shocked," said Backer.
According to the Mirror article, published today (February 10) "Loucks said that he is looking forward to becoming a part of Claysburg again." They then quoted him saying "You never visit Claysburg, you become part of Claysburg."
Backer said she talked with Loucks this morning and he confirmed the article's authenticity. She asked him for a formal letter of resignation and followed up with an email request. As of early evening, she had not received the letter.
Backer said the school board cannot proceed with looking for a replacement without the letter. She hopes to have the resignation in hand before the end of business Friday so the board can put the matter on the agenda for Monday's meeting.
She said the board will have to decide whether to seek out their own candidate replacement or if they will work through the Pennsylvania School Boards Association for search assistance. She said the Franklin board wants to get the process going as soon as possible because it can take time to find a superintendent.
For now they await the resignation letter and are processing the unexpected news. "I wish the way we found out wasn't from an article in the Altoona Mirror," Backer said.