North Allegheny School Board elects new president

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The North Allegheny School Board has a new president and vice president.

Christopher Jacobs was unanimously elected president at Wednesday’s reorganization meeting. Mr. Jacobs, of McCandless, joined the board two years ago.

Newcomer Tara Fisher, also of McCandless, was elected vice president by a 5-4 vote over eight-year incumbent Thomas Schwartzmier of Franklin Park.

In addition to her own vote, Mrs. Fisher received support from other newcomers Scott Russell and Kevin Mahler, as well as Mr. Jacobs and Ralph Pagone.

Libby Blackburn, Joseph Greenberg and former board president Maureen Grosheider voted for Mr. Schwartzmier, who also voted for himself.

Mr. Greenberg said that he was “very disappointed” in the lack of transparency in the election, contending that the vice presidential vote was a “foregone conclusion” decided before the meeting. He also said that the vice presidency should go to an experienced board member.

“In good conscience, I cannot vote for someone to lead on this board who has not been on this side of the table for a single meeting,” he said, adding that he would not have voted for himself, Mrs. Blackburn or Mr. Jacobs to lead the board during their first year in office.

“Were we prepared to be on the board? Yes. Were we prepared to lead the board? No,” he said. “This decision is irrational, and brings with it undue risk to the school district.”

Mrs. Blackburn noted that Mr. Schwartzmier is president of the A.W. Beattie Vocational-Technical School board. “He is excellent at running a meeting.”

Mrs. Fisher said being elected vice president was a “very poignant moment for me” as a North Allegheny graduate. “I think the ties that bind all of us here at this table tonight…will make a positive difference to the students of North Allegheny.”

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