At a board meeting on January 23, 2023, the West Chester Area School Board accepted the retirement of Superintendent Dr. Bob Sokolowski, effective December 31, 2023. Citing health concerns, Dr. Sokolowski will utilize accumulated sick days to reach his retirement date. The Board has appointed Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kalia Reynolds as Substitute Superintendent while they begin the process of interviewing search firms to facilitate the search for the next superintendent.
The agreement between the Board and Dr. Sokolowski includes a requirement that his retirement from the West Chester Area School District will be irrevocable. The use of accumulated sick time is a provision in the PA Public School Code, akin to paid sick leave in the private sector.
“We are very grateful to Dr. Sokolowski for his 19 years of work in the school district and sincerely wish him all the best,” said School Board President Sue Tiernan. Sokolowski served in a number of capacities in West Chester, including five years as Principal at Henderson High School, two years as Director of Secondary Education and six years as Assistant Superintendent. He was appointed Superintendent in August 2021.
The School Code requires a ‘substitute’ superintendent be appointed while an existing superintendent is either using sick time or is on leave. Effective January 1, 2024, once Dr. Sokolowski is no longer a District employee, and if a new superintendent has not begun working in the District, Dr. Reynolds’ contract states that the District will appoint her as ‘acting superintendent.’ Her contract as both substitute and acting superintendent includes a 30 day termination clause, common for ‘substitute’ or ‘acting’ superintendents, since the role is intended to be an interim rather than a long‐term position.
“Dr. Reynolds brings decades of experience as an educator and school administrator, and we are confident in her ability to continue to lead the District at this time,” said Tiernan. Reynolds joined West Chester in August, 2021, as assistant superintendent.
“We will move forward thoughtfully and expeditiously to select a search firm, and will ensure that our search process includes input from our school community as we develop a profile and list of characteristics that we will look for in the next superintendent,” Tiernan said.
The Board will work with Dr. Reynolds to make plans to fill the assistant superintendent responsibilities.