Vasko appointed to Hampton Township School Board

Wednesday, January 8, 2020 | 10:11 AM

A moment of silence and words of remembrance were shared at the Hampton Township School Board meeting on Jan. 6 for fellow school board member Gail Litwiler, who passed away on Dec. 28.

The Hampton Township resident was 80.

Litwiler has been serving on the Hampton Township School Board since 1989. This includes serving as school board treasurer, vice president twice and president. She also served on several school committees.

Litwiler also served as chairperson for the School Board Education Committee and was a member of the recently formed School Start Time Committee, according to the district’s announcement on Litwiler’s passing.

She has a son, T.J., who graduated from Hampton High School in 1984, and daughter, Tricia, who graduated in 1992, according to an interview with late Litwiler when she ran for school board in 2017.

Bryant Wesley, school board president, called her one of the wisest and most dedicated supporters of the district.

“For over 30 years, she served Hampton with unwavering energy and passion. She also cared deeply for others and had such a positive impact on so many lives. She was a great mentor to me and others and a role model for all,” said Wesley.

Superintendent of schools Dr. Michael Loughead offered condolences to her husband Tom and the entire Litwiler family.

He also said that Litwiler was the “pinnacle of what a quality board member acts and thinks like.”

The board unanimously voted last week to appoint Larry Vasko, former school board member, to finish her remaining term.

Wesley said that Pennsylvania law requires the vacant position is to be filled within 30 days.

The law provides an option of appointing someone followed by a majority vote by the school board. Or, the board can choose to accept applications, hold interviews and then vote on a potential candidate.

Wesley said after discussion with each school board member, they felt they should make an appointment in lieu of the longer process of requesting applications and holding interviews, given more than 10 days have elapsed of the 30-day requirement as of last week.

Wesley made a motion to appoint Vasko to finish Litwiler’s term, indicating Vasko already has years of experience on the board. He also brings a strong financial background, serving as chair for the board’s financial committee for many years.

He has worked as a certified public accountant and is currently a part-time senior tax manager.

Plus, Wesley said Vasko does not plan to run again after finishing Litwiler’s term, which Wesley said is important.

Another key characteristic is Vasko represents the growing and “fairly large demographic in Hampton” of residents without children currently students in the district, he said.

Trisha Webb, who was serving her first night as a school board member, noted that with three brand-new members, another with experience would be key.

Vasko was set to be sworn in at the school board’s Jan. 13 meeting. His term finished this past year, and he did run for re-election but lost by a small margin.

He was appointed to the board in 2002 to fill a vacancy and then elected in 2003, thus serving 18 years. Vasko has served on the A.W. Beattie Career Center Joint Operating Committee since 2010. Vasko also served three years on the audit committee of the Pennsylvania School Board Association.

Vasko said Litwiler’s presence on the board will be missed.

“Gail’s dedication, knowledge and leadership to the school district will be impossible to replace. It takes so much dedication to serve for 30 years, but Gail loved to do it. She loved the children and served this district with her whole heart,” he said.

The late Litwiler and Vasko were recognized at an October 2017 school board meeting by the Pennsylvania School Board Association for their dedicated years of service to the district.

At that time, Litwiler commented “The collaboration and cooperation among our HTSD board members makes the work we do a joy.”

“The District is blessed with motivated students, accomplished and engaged faculty, outstanding administrators and staff, supportive families, a caring community, and a school board with a continual focus on quality education as the main objective,” said Litwiler.