East Penn Superintendent of Schools Thomas L. Seidenberger ended his superintendent's report at Monday's meeting with the surprising news that he has decided to retire.
"I have one other announcement that affects me and another valued member of this organization," Seidenberger said. "After some soul searching, and reaching the age of 65 and being in this business for 43 years, I announced to the board about a half hour ago that I plan to retire this year."
Seidenberger went on to say that his "valued colleague," Board Secretary and Executive Assistant to the Superintendent Cecilia R. Birdsell, will be leaving East Penn School District at the same time. Birdsell has been an East Penn staff member for 40 years.
He did not give a specific date, but he told the board it will be some time during the 2013-2014 school year.
"We will find a mutually convenient time," Seidenberger said. "Serving your district has meant a lot to me. I will work with the board in carving a sucession plan."
Board president Charles Ballard offered his best wishes to Seidenberger.
"I want to say for myself and a majority of the members of the board, that I wish you the best in retirement and that I am sure you will be sorely missed after you leave."
Board members Alan Earnshaw and Francee Fuller echoed Ballard's brief comments.
"We will never find someone who will replace you, but we will find someone who will succeed you," Earnshaw told Seidenberger. "I also want to say thank you to Ms. Birdsell, who will also be very sorely missed. The board receives a tremendous amount of services from Ms. Birdsell."
Fuller, too, offered her thanks to both Seidenberger and Birdsell. "Professionalism and caring are terms that describe you both," Fuller said. "The benefit of the school district has always come first with you both."
Fuller went on to compliment a variety of specific items, including the meticulous board minutes provided by Birdsell.
"There is much more to say, but I don’t know how to phrase it," she said.
Both Seidenberger and Birdsell refused to comment on their joint retirement announcement after the meeting.