By Jake Lemke ’18
“I think I’ve created a culture where people feel they can take risks,” Dr. Gerald Huesken said when reflecting upon his 19 years of being superintendent at Conestoga Valley School District.
Almost two decades into the role, he has set the bar for longest tenured superintendent. Huesken announced his retirement early during the 2016-17 school year to allow for an extensive and careful search for the new district leader.
“I feel good that we have great people in place that can help the new leader that comes in,” Huesken said. “I think education becomes more and more challenging as the years go on—so whoever is sitting in this chair, whether it’s me or somebody else, I think it is going to be a challenge.”
Starting as high school assistant principal in 1984 and then hired as superintendent in 1998, Huesken can say he has been on a long road to improving the district.
Huesken has supervised a myriad of changes, including navigating the use of cell phones and other personal technology devices, implementing one-to-one laptop access, instituting full day kindergarten, and hiring a resource officer.
Resource officers are police officers who are dedicated to work with the district and students to create a safe environment.
“We’ve had four officers in the role over the course of the time that I’ve been here and they’ve all been successful because they focus on forging relationships with our students,” Huesken said.
“That culture is what I’d really like to take credit for,” Huesken said. “That culture where everybody works together for the common good.”
Huesken has also been noted for his involvement in the community. He is an active member and past president of the Paradise Rotary Club, he serves on the Board of Control for the Lancaster/Lebanon Interscholastic League, he is a part of a local advisory board for the HACC Lancaster Campus, and he is a past chair of the board of directors of Leadership Lancaster.
Huesken believes there will be continued success in Conestoga Valley School District’s future.
“I think we have a great team,” Huesken explained. “I think we have committed teachers and we have a great group of students. I get compliments when our kids go on field trips or they interact with the community. Even when I go on building visits everyone’s really polite. I don’t think it’s just because I’m superintendent, I think it’s the way our kids are. People are committed to Conestoga Valley and it really shows.”