Dave Hausmann is a lifelong Whitehall resident and has worked for the district for 25 years.
He said he enjoys being in a tight-knit community where he always seems to run into someone he knows at the store, at the park or at a Friday night football game.
So when the new position of director of operations was approved Oct. 10, he jumped at the opportunity to serve the district again, this time in a slightly different capacity.
He said he'd rather be nowhere else.
"This has been home," said Hausmann, who was approved as the new operations director Oct. 28 during a special board meeting. "I've been happy here with the schools. I've worked with a lot of great people, and there have been opportunities here for me. So I haven't had the desire to go anywhere else."
Hausmann attended Etna Road Elementary School and Rosemore Middle School and graduated from Whitehall-Yearling High School.
He began working for the district in 1988, serving in the facilities and transportation division, focusing on HVAC and kitchen equipment.
In 2007, he became the director of facilities and transportation and then was hired as the new director of operations last week.
"I feel I have institutional knowledge and have been involved with the projects from the beginning, starting on the ground floor," Hausmann said. "I am confident I will be able to fulfill this position and do it successfully."
Hausmann is well-aware of the importance of his position. As the city continues to attract new businesses and new home buyers, he said, quality schools play a big factor.
"I think Whitehall is moving in the right direction," he said of the local revitalization efforts. "I think schools are basically one of the anchors in any city. When people look to move into a city, a lot of times (the schools are) one of the first things they check.
"It's my hope that we help attract new people to move into our city," he said. "And I think with some of the enrollment numbers, we may be seeing that to be true."
The director of operations is a new position created by the district earlier this year. It keeps many of the duties of the former director of administrative services but throws the responsibility of personnel over to the superintendent. According to Superintendent Brian Hamler, the personnel and operations responsibilities traditionally were split in Whitehall but were combined into one position around 2006. Splitting them again reverts to the original line of duties, he said, while serving as a realignment of resources.
"This is a cost savings to the district," Hamler told ThisWeek.
In the process of creating the new position of operations director, which encompasses the duties of the old director of facilities and transportation as well, and transferring personnel responsibilities to the superintendent, the district has been able to eliminate the positions of director of administrative services and director of facilities and transportation, he said.
Hamler said he also is looking to hire a director of communications, a position that has never been created in the district.
Hausmann's annual salary is $93,327 in his new position. According to district treasurer Steve McAfee, after adding in retirement and insurance benefits, the total value is $122,943.
Andy Riggle, who had been director of administrative services since 2007 but retired last month, earned a salary of $119,255. After adding in retirement and insurance benefits, the total was $155,669.
The Whitehall Board of Education also approved the new position of director of communications and marketing Oct. 10, but that position has yet to be filled.