CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -

Two new and one incumbent school directors were sworn in Tuesday evening at a reorganizational meeting of the Southern Lehigh School District Board of Directors held at Southern Lehigh High School. 

Magisterial District Justice, David Harding, of Coopersburg administered the oath of office collectively to newcomers Brian Merkle, 47, of Bethlehem, Kathleen Parsons, 55, of Coopersburg, and incumbent board member, Thomas McLoughlin, M.D., 51, of Upper Saucon Township.

Fellow incumbent, William Hayes, 57, of Upper Saucon, who was not in attendance at the ceremony, will, however, begin his full third term as a school director today.

School Directors Corinne Gunkle and William Lycett both of Upper Saucon Twp., were elected president and vice president of the board, respectively.

Former Board President Jeffrey Dimmig of Coopesrburg was elected board treasurer.

Merkle, a libertarian Republican is a self-employed architectural draftsman with two teenage daughters attending Southern Lehigh High School. He and his wife Cathy live and work in Bethlehem, Merkle commented that he ran for school director "to give back to the community."

Parsons works at the Southern Lehigh Public Library as a patron database manager and mentioned that for 10 years, she regularly attended school board meetings as a curiosity.

However, Parsons said she ran for office because she wanted to make a real difference and have her voice heard. She is a former Milford Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association president and Music Parents president at Southern Lehigh High School. All three of her children graduated from Southern Lehigh High School.

Parsons, a Democrat, also is a longtime district classroom volunteer and she and her husband Tom reside in Coopersburg.

McLoughlin is head of the anesthesiology department at Lehigh Valley Hospital Center in Salisbury Township. He will begin his second four-year term on the board with his recent reelection. He is a self-described fiscally conservative Democrat and married father of two Southern Lehigh graduates and one current student.

Hayes is the director of special education for the Boyertown Area School District. He will assume his third four-year term on the board. He is a Republican and the married father of three Southern Lehigh High School graduates.