Cornell Elementary School gets new principal

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Jeffrey Carter grew up in a small school district, and he wants his young sons to have the same experience.

So, he’s happy he’ll be working in a school district with about 700 students K-12, starting on May 5 when he’ll become principal of Cornell Elementary School for children in Coraopolis and Neville Island.

Mr. Carter, 36, is acting principal at J. A. Allard Elementary School in the Moon Area School District. He will continue to work there until April 30.

The size of Cornell "was one of the main attractions” for Mr. Carter. The school’s Blue Ribbon designation in 2010 from the U.S. Department of Education is another positive.

“I like the hometown feel at Cornell Elementary and I look forward to building relationships with students, parents and teachers,” Mr. Carter said. “I have not started working in the building yet and already I feel welcomed and part of the team.”

Mr. Carter attended schools in the Avonworth School District “just across the river from Cornell.” He and his family moved to Ohio Township so that his sons, Everett, 3, and Anderson, 10 months, will have the same small-school-district experience that he enjoyed.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a master's from Virginia Commonwealth University. He taught in Virginia schools for 10 years before moving back to the Pittsburgh area. He has worked in the Moon Area district since August 2010 as a teacher and has filled in as acting principal at all three elementary schools — Meade, McCormick and Allard.

Mr. Carter’s entire professional career has been in elementary schools, where men are generally a very small minority.

“We are a special breed,” Mr. Carter said of men who teach young children. “I’m not sure why there are not more men. In my case, it might be because I had a lot of cousins younger than me” and he may have been an unofficial mentor or teacher for them, he speculated.

Cornell superintendent Aaron Thomas said, “Throughout the interview process Mr. Carter stood out due to his personal and leadership characteristics. It was apparent he is a student-centered educator and I think our students and staff will really enjoy working with Mr. Carter.

Mr. Carter replaces Sarah Shaw, who left Feb. 28 to become principal at Jefferson Elementary School in Mt. Lebanon. Filling in at Cornell Elementary has been Donna Belas, who retired last summer as superintendent of the Cornell School District.


Linda Wilson Fuoco: lfuoco@post-gazette.com or 412-722-0087.

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