Growing a ‘close-knit community’
Catasauqua Area School District Superintendent Robert Spengler is more than just an alumnus; he continues to lead the district with pride and through challenges he has been able to overcome.
Spengler attended Sheckler Elementary, Lincoln Middle School and Catasauqua High School. After graduating from the district schools, he received a degree in math from Kutztown University; master’s degree from DeSales University in instructional technology; and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Lehigh University.
Spengler was appointed by the CASD School Board in 2003, replacing former Superintendent Ray Laubach.
It’s Laubach, Spengler said, who sparked his great interest in math.
“He really fostered that love of math for me,” Spengler said. “I absolutely enjoyed the interaction with students.”
According to Spengler, assuming the position of CASD superintendent initially was not easy.
“The challenge was helping the community to the faith in the community,” Spengler told The Press. “It’s like restoring something not taken care of for a long time.”
Spengler lauded one of its business partnerships with B. Braun, Bethlehem, as one of his noteworthy accomplishments. The partnership, he noted, has been in effect for five years.
“We’re ahead of the game with this,” Spengler said. “Their employees come into our classrooms and walk our students through the module.”
One of a few needs, Spengler said, includes free and reduced lunch. Roughly 62 percent of Sheckler students receive such lunch.
“There’s a lot of needs that have to be connected now,” Spengler continued.
Full-day kindergarten is a goal the district hopes to accomplish in the near future.
“We’re one of the few districts not offering it,” Spengler said.
Spengler added a strong part of the district is its size.
“Our size is unparalleled,” he said. “It’s like a private school seating in a small school setting. We can really implement change here. It’s unrivaled.”
Spengler also said a recent accomplishment is the district hiring CHS Spanish teacher and alumna Leslie Estrada as district community liaison.
Estrada, Spengler said, works out in the community introducing those living in the district to what CASD has to offer.
In the end, Spengler believes in the district students and the accommodating nature of the schools.
“We believe in the whole child care here,” he said. “It’s that close-knit school community. We can really implement change here.”
The school board is scheduled to meet 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month in the district administration office building, 201 N. 14th St.