Bellefonte Area fills leadership roles, discusses transgender policy

The Bellefonte Area school board made two new leadership appointments at a meeting Tuesday night.

The interim superintendent also unveiled plans for a new school district transgender policy.

In a unanimous vote, the nine-member board named Tammie Burnaford as interim assistant to the superintendent for education and innovation at a salary of $115,000, and Daniel Besch as interim principal at Pleasant Gap Elementary School at a salary of $85,000.

Besch will replace Burnaford as Pleasant Gap Elementary principal.

According to a report from the district, if the position Burnaford was appointed becomes a permanent position, the title would revert to assistant superintendent.

Burnaford will work with Michelle Saylor who was named interim superintendent in April after former superintendent Cheryl Potteiger left Bellefonte Area for a lateral job at Annville-Cleona School District in Lebanon County.

A one-year contract for Saylor as interim superintendent was also unanimously approved by the board Tuesday night.

In other meeting news, the Bellefonte Area High School state championship baseball team was recognized by the board, and Saylor discussed plans to draft a transgender policy at the district that includes training, student safety, and education.

Saylor said administration is in the beginning steps of drafting a policy with help from high school Principal Jen Brown and Assistant Principal Mike Fedisson.

A first draft reading will be presented to the board in July. A second draft will be presented to the board in August, with the hopes a final draft would be “ready near the beginning of the year,” Saylor said.

The first day of school in Bellefonte Area is Aug. 29.

Saylor said the policy comes on the heels of new state and federal laws regarding the equality of transgender people in public places.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo