Wilkinsburg school board hires acting superintendent

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The Wilkinsburg school board hired Daniel Matsook as the district's acting superintendent, making him the third person since March to hold the title.

Mr. Matsook retired last year as superintendent of the Central Valley School District, a district created by the state's only voluntary merger. He was previously superintendent of the Center Area School District, which merged in 2009 with the Monaca School District.

"I know a bit about bringing people together," said Mr. Matsook, who worked with an 18-member school board during the first years of the merger.

Board president Ed Donovan said at Tuesday's board meeting that Mr. Matsook is the right person for the job at this point in Wilkinsburg.

"His experience in leading the first voluntary merger of school districts in Pennsylvania demonstrates strength and innovation," Mr. Donovan said.

Mr. Matsook will work as a consultant for the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. Wilkinsburg will enter a one-year contract to pay the AIU $600 a day for his services and in return will also be able to use other services of the intermediate unit such as human resources and public relations.

Mr. Matsook said he intends to stay for the year.

A month ago the board appointed AIU executive director Linda Hippert as acting superintendent. At the time, Mrs. Hippert said she would perform the duties at no charge to the district while it searched for a new permanent or acting superintendent.

Mrs. Hippert replaced Donna Micheaux, one of her assistants at the AIU, who was hired as Wilkinsburg's substitute superintendent in March after the board placed Superintendent Lee McFerren on administrative leave pending termination. Ms. Micheaux left to take the deputy superintendent position at Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Mrs. Hippert said she will continue to be involved in helping the Wilkinsburg district.

Currently, district administrators are scrambling to create new curriculum and schedules for middle and high school students following the creation of a middle/high school program and furlough of 16 faculty members.

At Tuesday's meeting it was reported that middle school students will be scheduled for double periods of language arts, reading and math. At the high school, teachers are being asked to fill empty spaces in their schedules with new electives.

First Published July 29, 2014 12:00 AM

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