A slide from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association presentation lists the consultant team. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

School Board Hires PSBA to Assist in Superintendent Search

November 6, 2023

RUSSELL, Pa. – As discussed during October’s committee meetings, the Warren County School District Board of Directors selected an outside consultant to assist in the search for the district’s next superintendent.

During Monday’s regular board meeting, the board unanimously (8-0 as Marcy Morgan was absent) voted to hire the Pennsylvania School Boards Association as a consultant in the search. PSBA presented four levels the district could choose from during its presentation last month and the board chose the “Comprehensive” option for $15,000.

“As far as I’m concerned, you are all school directors until Dec. 4 at 5:59 p.m., and I think we should continue to move forward and make decisions that are in the best interest of the district,” Region I candidate John Wortman said on Oct. 23. “And that will allow the board that is coming on to start from the strongest possible place. And I think that what matters is what’s in the best interest of our children, our students, our staff, and how can we keep the district functioning at the highest level possible. I think right now you’re in the best position to keep doing that.”

The current board invited all six potential new board members to last month’s committee meetings to discuss whether the current board should get the ball rolling in the search process. All six potential new board members agreed that the current board should get the contract in place with the caveat that search criteria come from the new board.

“With the question of how your input gets taken into account, once the election occurs, we know that you’re the candidate. Those meetings can include you, we as a board can incorporate your comments into that process,” Donna Zariczny said on Oct. 23. “So if at the November meeting, we hire IU5 or PSBA, as our consultants, and they want to come meet with us during committee, you could come back to November committee, and be part of the attribute discussion. You know, recording input from your community members.”

Current Superintendent Amy Stewart announced her plan to retire effective March 1, 2024, in August.

One of the main concerns raised by board candidates during the October meeting was to find people interested in serving in an interim role if the superintendent search stretches beyond Stewart’s last day. Stewart said she reached out to those eligible administrators in the district to gauge their interest in the interim role.

“I reached out to every one of our current administrators that has their superintendent letter of eligibility, to ask them . . . the new board will be going through a search process which can take months to get done and we will need an interim are you at all interested in serving in an interim role,” Stewart said Monday. “Only one person is interested in that interim role. I just wanted to give you that awareness that it is clear that we do have someone internally that would be willing to take on that role. But I just wanted to put that out there for everybody to hear so that we could be ready and do that responsible appointment to get things going in the right direction.”

With Tuesday’s election set to determine exactly who will sit on the board for at least the next two years, a clause was put in the motion to approve the contract with PSBA to hold the “attribute discussion” at the Nov. 20 committee meetings so members-elect can participate.

Barring a surprise write-in victory, the board is guaranteed to have at least five new members. Current board members Arthur Stewart and Marcy Morgan did not seek re-election, while Joe Colosimo and Donna Zariczny did not make it through the primary. Kevin Lindvay also did not make it through the primary; however, the Republican Party approved placing him on the ballot as a replacement after Wendy MacQueen dropped out.

The new board members will officially take their seats during the organizational meeting on Dec. 4.

      

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