LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — The School District of Lancaster is losing its superintendent. The district is home to one of the Midstate’s most diverse student bodies and its outgoing leader has made it her mission to help every single student who’s walked her halls, pandemic or not.

“In the very beginning when schools closed we worried will our children have enough to eat,” said Dr. Damaris Rau, superintendent for the School District of Lancaster.

Get daily news, weather, breaking news, and sports alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here. 

For urban districts like Lancaster, the pandemic turned education on its head.

“Stories from parents who told me their ‘A’ students had become failing students. Students were developing mental health issues, staying in their rooms all day and not coming out,” Dr. Rau said.

It forced many districts to go virtual and adapt to the changing times.

For Dr. Rau, who’s been at the helm at SDOL for almost seven years, providing an equal education for her students has always been top of mind.

“Our school district and many other school districts are not given the appropriate resources to help us break the cycle of poverty and so it seems to me like there’s always the haves and the have nots,” Dr. Rau said. 

Dr. Rau spearheaded many programs ranging from work with refugees to increasing reading comprehension, but even as she gets ready to say goodbye, she knows there’s plenty more work to do.

“Ensuring for example that we have more teachers of color to bring that up a little so that our children see people that look like them in front of them,” Dr. Rau added.

Her last day on the job is July 5.