New Coatesville superintendent outlines agenda

Cathy Taschner
Cathy Taschner
Posted: April 16, 2014

COATESVILLE Already in the middle of a "listening tour" to hear the voices of her new community, Cathy Taschner, the new superintendent of Coatesville schools, said she has also decided on what is next on her agenda.

And that is letting the people know exactly what's going on in their schools, which have been troubled for many months.

"People didn't have to [file] a Right-to-Know request to see my contract," Taschner said Monday afternoon.

Unlike former Superintendent Richard Como, whose contract was not made public until media outlets filed requests to see it after his resignation, Taschner said she told the Coatesville Area school board as soon as she got the job last month to post her contract on the district's website.

She is to be paid $175,000 per year, with the potential for annual increases of up to 2.5 percent based on performance. And she said she wants that performance to speak for itself, so there will be many new things for the community to see.

"Trust is built over time and over repeated interactions," she said.

Taschner is currently assistant superintendent of the Susquehanna Township School District near Harrisburg, but is to end her stint there in early June. She is to start in Coatesville by July 1, and said she would use the transition period to make herself even more available to the district's residents.

She said she wants them to see her as as committed to their students as they are. Therefore, she said, her focus on transparency will begin with the district's following through on recommendations several state agencies gave administrators in the months after the texting scandal that ousted Como at the beginning of the school year.

Taschner said she plans to better use the media to spread timely information and engage community members, some of whom have already offered their various skills.

That would follow recommendations from Pennsylvania's Civil Rights Commission and the state chapter of the NAACP that called for improving communication between the district and the community.

Taschner said she was delighted to be getting so much input from students, teachers, parents, community members and administrators. She is asking them what her priorities should be and plans to present a report in a few months on the information she collects.

After that, she said, she will outline the steps she will take.

"The students are very impressive" in asking questions, Taschner said. She said students have asked substantive questions about her thoughts on standardized tests and their academic futures.

Best of all, she said with a smile, none asked her about plans for improving the cafeteria food. That, she said, is a good sign.


mbond@philly.com

610-313-8207 @MichaelleBond

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