Following months of tireless searching, Pleasant Valley School District has found their new superintendent, and as it turns out, he was a Bear all along.


During Thursday’s virtual board meeting, the directors approved Dr. Lee J. Lesisko as the eighth superintendent of Pleasant Valley School District in a 7-2 vote.


Board President Donna Yozwiak voted in favor of hiring Lesisko, along with Vice President Leonard Peeters, Delbert Zacharias, Laura Jecker, Todd Kresge, Teresa Greggo and Norman Burger, whereas Susan Kresge and Daniel Wunder voted against.


“I am very excited, and I am looking forward to working with the Pleasant Valley community,” Lesisko said. “I’m looking forward to building board and community relations; I think that is a very important thing. I’m happy that I have the support of people to do the job.”


Yozwiak said that she eagerly anticipates working alongside Lesisko, who she said holds a distinct advantage in that he is already familiar with the climate and personnel of the district.


“I think he’s going to do an exceptional job,” Yozwiak said. “I really look forward to working with him. He’s a bright spot in these unprecedented times. He’s easy to work with, knowledgeable, and very, very bright. I’m happy with our choice.”


Not everyone was satisfied with the choice, however, as both Susan Kresge and Wunder expressed that while they thought highly of Lesisko, he was not their ideal man for the job.


Wunder did say that he would support Lesisko in his mission to lead the district in a positive direction, noting that “his success will be Pleasant Valley’s success.”


Kresge expressed concern over some elements of the superintendent’s contract, namely the starting salary and annual increases.


“In the contract, there is a raise, which will be effective 7/1 of 2020, of 2%, which will then increase his salary another $3,100,” Kresge said. “That is only after being our superintendent for three months, or 90 days.”


Kresge also noted that this new contract provides Lesisko with the option to redeem up to five vacation days at his per diem rate, as well as five additional sick days. Kresge said that considering the current state of the economy and the potential for cuts in the future, she could not support such items.


When asked about taking on the role of superintendent in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with a number of other pressing concerns directly related to the district, Lesisko said that he looks forward to solving these problems with the input of the community.


“It is a tumultuous time to come in because of the pandemic, because of the school closings,” Lesisko said. “There are a lot of other things that need to be looked at, I know the roundabout is an issue. What I want to do is work with the people and come up with the best interests of the Pleasant Valley students and the taxpayers.”


Lesisko will assume his position as superintendent on April 1, and his contract runs until June 30, 2023. According to the contract, Lesisko will earn a $155,000 salary with annual 2% increases effective July 1 of each school year.


Lesisko succeeds Dr. Charlene Brennan, who served as acting superintendent for the district since Nov. 2019 following the departure of David Piperato, who has since taken over as superintendent at the Easton Area School District.


Brennan took a few moments toward the end of the meeting to express her thanks to the district’s employees and families, noting that she will miss them all. The board reciprocated those sentiments, thanking Brennan for her extensive work.


Lesisko has worked in the field of education for 27 years, the last 14 of which were spent at Pleasant Valley. From 2006 to 2012, Lesisko served as the district’s technology coordinator. In 2012, he took on the role of lead administrator for the PV Charter Academy, and in 2017, he became the district’s director of technology.


Lesisko holds a bachelor’s degree in computer and information science from Bloomsburg University, a master’s degree in classroom technology from Wilkes University, and an educational doctorate degree in educational leadership and instructional technology from Widener University.


Prior to his time at Pleasant Valley, Lesisko served as supervisor of technology and data analysis at Wissahickon School District, a supervisor of technology at the Lehigh Career and Technical Institute, and a senior systems engineer and Novell instructor.


Lesisko is an instructional technology specialist and holds a principal’s certificate for kindergarten through twelfth grade, along with a superintendent letter of eligibility. He has also written over 20 research studies and publications.


Outside of academics, Lesisko is Grandmaster at Mountain Karate Academy and a member of the International Black Belt Hall of Fame, teaching both children and adults Jiu Jitsu and Tae Kwan Do.


Lesisko and his wife Jennifer reside in Kunkletown.


Prior to the close of the meeting, Lesisko thanked Brennan for her service, and the faculty, staff, students and community members of Pleasant Valley, who “truly care about our school district.”


“I am proud to be a Bear, and I will work hard every day in the best interest of Pleasant Valley. Count on it,” Lesisko said.