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Superintendent says he'll retire

December 08, 1998

Superintendent retiresBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Ted. F. Rabold told Tuscarora School Board members Monday night that he will retire as schools superintendent in June.

Rabold, 54, said he wants to pursue new interests.

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He replaced Lawrence Lengel as superintendent in 1983, four years after he was hired as an assistant superintendent.

Michael Rice, school board president, said Rabold's resignation will be accepted with regret.

"The board wishes him well in his future endeavors. He has been very dedicated to the district and has helped to build a fine program. He deserves a lot of credit. Tuscarora is sought out for its programs."

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Rice said a search committee of administrators, teachers and board members will be appointed to find a replacement for Rabold. A professional recruiting agency will be hired to assist in the search.

Rabold will stay on the job until the end of the school year in June.

"I've been in education for 32 years. I want a new opportunity, a new challenge," he said.

One possibility is starting a professional business partnership with a man he met in church. "I can't say much about that yet," he said.

He will retire at full pension thanks to a two-year program that allows educators to leave after 30 years instead of 35. "The program ends this year," he said.

At $81,500, Rabold's annual salary is second lowest among the five Franklin County school districts. He runs six schools, including James Buchanan High and Middle schools and four elementary schools. The district includes Mercersburg, Montgomery, Peters and Warren townships, as well as Saint Thomas.

"We cover more than 200 square miles," Rabold said.

He has seen enrollment drop considerably in the nearly 20 years he has been with the district. When he came, there were 3,379 students in the schools. As of October, enrollment was 2,700, he said.

Rabold said reasons for the drop are smaller families and the exodus from the community by graduates who chose to live elsewhere.

"Like my own three children. They're 29, 26 and 22. They all went through the schools here then moved away," he said.

"We had a 1 percent drop every year until the last few years. It's stabilized now. We won't see any big changes or growth because we don't have the infrastructure here. It's a very stable area," he said.

Stability is what Rabold believes he has brought to the district in his two decades at the helm.

"I feel good that in 20 years I've been able to provide stability to the schools, the staff and to my family," he said. "We have a very small turnover in staff. People like to teach here."

The only construction Rabold oversaw during his tenure was an addition to one elementary school and new roofs on school buildings.

He's seen dramatic changes in the way teachers and students use technology, but one of the biggest growth areas has been in educating special-needs children.

"When I came here we had four special education classes. Today we have 20," he said.

"We're recognizing children with special needs more today," he said. "In the old days, they were relegated to the back of the class and dropped out early. There's a safety net today.

"Our dropout rate is 1.5 percent. It's the lowest around. We provide in-home instruction, send students to alternative schools and private schools, whatever works," he said.

Rabold said he deals with few serious discipline problems in the district. No students have been suspended for bringing weapons to school, he said. "Once in a while a boy may have a pocket knife in his pocket, but we just take it away from him. We don't expel him like some districts do."

Or, he said, "Once a boy drove to school in his brother's car and didn't know he had left his hunting rifle in the trunk. He wasn't suspended."

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