School board approves firm for superintendent research

Gerard Steffe to retire after 29 years of service with township schools

By:Vanessa S. Holt
   FLORENCE — The school board has hired Johnson, Galasso and Cram Inc. of Berlin to begin the search for a new superintendent.
   After 29 years of service with the Florence Township schools, superintendent Gerard Steffe has decided to retire.
   The board hopes to have a list of candidates from the firm by March 2003, said Business Administrator Bruce Benedetti.
   "I announced my retirement rather early (October 2002) so there would be time for a search, and to make the transition smooth," Mr. Steffe said.
   School board officials said candidates should have three to five years experience as a secondary school principal or assistant principal, three to five years as a superintendent or chief school administrator and at least three years of classroom teaching experience.
   The school board also is looking for experience with multi-year budget development and implementation, and technology and building construction.
   Officials said voter approval will be sought in September 2003 to spend $32 million to build a new high school. The school could take could take three to five years to build, the superintendent said.
   Mr. Steffe said the board wanted to make sure that the transition of superintendents did not happen during the construction.
   "We wanted to make sure that person will be there from the beginning," he said.
   Mr. Steffe plans to leave in August 2003. The starting date for the new superintendent will be Sept. 1, 2003. "I’d be happy to work forever," said Mr. Steffe, who will be 75 in July, "but there comes a time for change. It is time to give someone who is younger and has fresh ideas a chance."
   Mr. Steffe taught math and history at Catholic schools in Philadelphia, and began his career here as the Florence Township Memorial High School principal. He held that position for 21 years, then spent five years on the child study team. He has been the superintendent for the past three years.
   "I have enjoyed every minute of working here," he said. "I don’t consider this a job, but a vocation."
   Although he does not have any concrete plans, Mr. Steffe said he plans to spend time with his grandchildren, possibly travel and play golf, and even dreams of someday writing a book about his experiences and memories.