News

Annville-Cleona superintendent dies

Written by Marylouise Sholly/Lebanon Daily News | Jan 12, 2016 9:51 AM
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Steven Houser, Annville-Cleona School District superintendent at the Lebanon Valley College breakfast on Aug. 22, 2013(Photo: Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News)

Steven E. Houser died Sunday evening after an extended illness.

(Undated) -- The superintendent of the Annville-Cleona School District has died.

Steven E. Houser died Sunday evening after an extended illness. He was 59.

Houser was granted a leave of absence from the school district in November after his illness made it impossible to continue working.

Monday, the district was trying to come to terms with the loss of a popular administrator, and a number of school board members voiced their feelings.

"He was a good man," said board member Ben Dohner. "He was a very, very good superintendent. He also served for two years as the superintendent of record for the (Lebanon County) Career and Technology Center. He was very involved. He was a mentor for the Dutchman Foundation (for scholarships). He was very big on that."

Houser was voted unanimously into the superintendent position six years ago, replacing interim superintendent Lisa Brown, who had accepted an assistant superintendent position in the Palmyra Area School District. Brown replaced former superintendent Marsha Zehner.

Pat Stephens, who had been a board member for the past eight years, recalled Houser taking the reins of the district and said he "turned the district around."

"I had nothing but praise for him since he came on board," Stephens said. "Not only did he turn the district around, he added to what was already a great district.

"This is a great loss and we were very taken back by this," Stephens said. "He was a fighter and we thought, if anybody could do it, he would have beat this thing."

Houser's outgoing personality was a big hit with the students, Stephens said.

"I have walked through the halls with him and seen the reactions from the students," Stephens said. "He knew them by name, and they'd light up when he spoke with them. He was fair to everybody. He didn't play favorites and he treated everybody the same."

Houser put together a good administrative team, Stephens said, and his upbeat personality and drive encouraged everybody to work as a part of the team, she added.

"He had a terrific staff and he was just so fair to everybody," Stephens said. "We all worked together as a team to make the district run smoothly. He didn't want to raise taxes, either. He and the business manager worked on that as best they could.

"I always felt, before Dr. Houser came, there were some feelings of intimidation, or 'ivory tower' feelings, but he was down to earth," Stephens said. "He had a great personality and he reached out to people, from the administration to faculty, to cafeteria workers and maintenance. He was a good man and I am really quite taken back by his passing. We are all the poorer for losing him."

Before coming to the Annville-Cleona School District, Houser was the assistant superintendent of the Susquehanna Township School District in Dauphin County.

A 1976 graduate of the Cornwall-Lebanon School District, Houser started his career as a sixth grade teacher in Lebanon's Henry Houck Elementary School.

He and his family moved to North Annville Township in 1992. Houser and his wife have three children, who all graduated from Annville-Cleona High School.

After Houser was granted a leave of absence, Andrea Flocken was appointed as substitute superintendent. Before that, she had been employed as the assistant to the superintendent.

Flocken did not return calls. It is not known if Flocken will serve as Houser's replacement or if the district will begin the search for a new superintendent.


This article comes to us through a partnership between WITF and Lebanon Daily News.

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