The top leader of the York school district is often known to sit with a student during lunch time. He or she was Vernon Prosser's "lunch buddy" that day.
That's just the kind of leader that Prosser, who has served as superintendent for the York school district for nine years, has been.
"He has always put kids first," said Amy Hagner, assistant superintendent for finance and operations. “He’s been so involved in our community the last nine years. He’s truly been a blessing to the school district and will be missed."
Prosser is leaving. His last day is June 30.
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Prosser has put in more than 35 years in education. Before coming to York, he was a teacher, a principal and an assistant superintendent in Spartanburg. He is also a father of three.
“I’ve had a lot of different hats over the time I’ve spent in education and I have enjoyed every minute of it,” Prosser said.
Shirley Harris served on the York school board when Prosser was hired as superintendent and was part of that search process.
"We felt like we found the right person for us, which we did," Harris said. "He’s out in the community. He knows lots of people, which has encouraged them to be a part of what’s happening in the schools."
'We’ll miss him'
Harris said Prosser's style, such as sitting with students at lunch, has made a difference.
"That gives the child another adult in their lives that’s interested in what they’re doing," Harris said.
Staff members say Prosser has been supportive of both students and the district's programs. Harris, who now works in adult education, said Prosser has always supported what her department does and has attended their graduations.
"We're going to miss his leadership," Harris said.
Prosser's knowledge of career education has been an asset to the Floyd D. Johnson Technology Center, said Thomas Ray, one of the center's leaders.
"He understands our needs and the needs of the students in the technology center," Ray said. "We’ll miss him.”
Prosser said he is most proud of the success of the York school district, as seen in the increase of the graduation rate from 82 percent to 92 percent during his tenure. He said the increase is a reflection of a community that has supported building a new high school and putting programs in place to help students.
"This community bought into a system for educating children," Prosser said. "The biggest accomplishment for us is creating opportunities for our students that go through the system. It’s great that a community will step up and put the needs of children first."
Multiple York County school districts will have new leaders for the upcoming school year.