Clearfield County Career and Technology Center welcomed Dr. Norm Hatten as its new acting executive director at last night’s meeting of the Joint Operating Committee.
Hatten started his interim post on Jan. 3 and will serve until a permanent replacement is found. The JOC is planning to have Hatten serve as acting executive director until the end of the year, JOC Vice-Chairman Larry Allen said.
“I thank the JOC for the opportunity to serve and work alongside the students and faculty for the next few months,” Hatten said.
“We are really happy we were able to roust him out of retirement,” Superintendent of Record Michele Dutrow of the West Branch Area School District said. “The superintendents at the six sending schools strongly believe Dr. Hatten’s experience, expertise, professionalism and integrity are a perfect fit here at the CCCTC.”
Hatten is being paid a salary of $500 per day. He replaces former Executive Director Elizabeth Frankhouser who resigned in September under pressure from the JOC after alleged questionable images were found on her school-owned computer and cell phone.
The circumstances behind the incident are now the focus of a Whistleblower lawsuit filed recently in Clearfield County Court by former employee Franklin Walk who found the images and anonymously reported them to the JOC.
Frankhouser’s exit was followed by an advertised public search for a new executive director, and despite receiving applications and holding interviews, the JOC did not hire any of the candidates.
Hatten headed the Curwensville Area School District until he retired as superintendent in 2013 when he became the superintendent at Manheim Central in Lancaster County until his retirement in 2016. He also served as acting superintendent at Claysburg-Kimmel Area School District last year until that district found a permanent replacement. Claysburg-Kimmel hired former Harmony Superintendent Darren McLaurin as its superintendent last October.
In 2016 while superintendent at Manheim Central, Hatten was awarded the Pennsylvania Association for Rural and Small Schools Pennsylvania Rural Educator of the Year.
In other business, the JOC held a moment of silence for Darlene Smolko who passed away yesterday morning. Smolko was employed as a cosmetology instructor at the CCCTC for 21 years.
“I thank Darlene for her service to the school, she will be well missed,” Allen said.
“I was asked on behalf of the sending of the school districts to share our sympathies with the faculty, staff, students and administrators at the CCCTC,” Dutrow said. “I know it’s been tough day for you.”