COAL TOWNSHIP — First-year Shamokin Area Superintendent Chris Venna has taken a three-week leave of absence.

Venna didn’t return calls Thursday seeking comment about the leave, but Shamokin Area School Board President Brian Persing and board member Charles Shuey confirmed that the leave of absence for personal reasons began last week and will continue until April 19.

Shuey said former superintendent and current transition administrator James Zack is fulfilling Venna’s duties during his absence. Shuey said if Venna needs additional time off, the school board will appoint Zack as acting superintendent.

Persing and Shuey both stressed that Venna is using sick or personal time during the leave of absence that didn’t require school board action.

Venna served as principal of Shamokin Area High School for 14 years before being unanimously hired by the school board as superintendent on Sept. 26, 2017.

He was given a five-year contract at an annual salary of $127,500 that can be adjusted by the board. Venna began his duties as superintendent on July 1, 2018, following Zack’s retirement.

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