Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Pottstown Bids Good-bye to Jeff Sparagana

Photos by Evan Brandt
Pottstown School Board President Kim Stilwell, right, and board member Ron Williams, left, present retiring Superintendent Jeff Sparagana with a resolution thanking him for his service and a plaque to the same effect during Monday night's school board meeting.

Judging by the size of the agenda, one could be excused from thinking that Monday night's school board meeting would be a long one.

With presentations by the Foundation for Pottstown Education and the adoption of an historic second consecutive budget without a tax hike, one might have expected a long night.

But with brisk efficiency uncharacteristic to most school board meetings, things moved along quickly, helped perhaps by a single unanimous vote that took care of 20 items on the agenda in one fell swoop -- not that I'm complaining.

The budget was adopted unanimously and without comment for fanfare.

Here are a few of those Early College graduates.
The bulk of the meeting was devoted to the foundation's presentation, most particularly those students who have benefited from the early college program and are graduating high school with their first year of college under their belt.

But we would be remiss if we failed to mention the night's main event, saying goodbye to Schools Superintendent Jeff Sparagana, who retires in just three days after 23 years with the district. It was his last meeting.

As you can see in the photo above, the board adopted a resolution which, among other things, thanked him for bringing "his knowledge, passion and tireless to every endeavor undertaken for improving the education opportunities and overall well-being of the students attending Pottstown School District and their families."

 "Your commitment and dedication has made a difference and your legacy will live on through the many lives you have touched," read the plaque.

Board member Amy Francis complimented Sparagana by noting that one of his favorite sayings -- "the harder you work, the luckier you get" -- is now a mantra in her household.

As usual, coach that he is, Sparagana tried to reflect some of the gratitude and attribute that sense of accomplishment to the entire team.

(You can see the full content of his comments here:)

"Some of the comments this evening were really terrific and I really appreciate it, but I think that its about us; how we have functioned together for the last four years; how we have done some things collectively with borough government to bring people to the same table and sit together, listen and talk and solve problems," Sparagana said in his final remarks.

He noted that boredom was never an option, given that in his 23 years in the district, he changed positions 11 times, if you could the two "acting" posts he took one.

"I never expected to sit in this seat, I never planned on it. I didn't leave to go other places, because I loved the work I was involved in," he said. "Building the  PEAK program and some of the other things we were doing at the time, I just never really thought about anywhere else."

We here at The Digital Notebook wish Dr. Sparagana the best.

His motives have never been in doubt. He has always been, in our experience, fair-minded, took criticism in stride and never personally, and focused on the improvement of the school district and the community.

As he said when a reporter wished him well: "this is a good place."

Here are the Tweets from the meeting:

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