Nina Zetty never intended to become an educator. The Fayette County native married young and started a family while trying to juggle schoolwork.
Ms. Zetty said a neighbor noted she always excelled at math and suggested she go into teaching because teachers have summers and holidays off, a good schedule for a working mother.
"Once I started teaching, I realized that's where I was supposed to be the whole time," she said.
After four years as superintendent of the Peters Township School District in Washington County, Ms. Zetty, 53, will leave that post to assume the top job in the Gateway School District. Her contract pays $150,000 a year and runs until June 30, 2017.
The Gateway school board voted unanimously to hire Ms. Zetty during its Sept. 26 meeting. She will begin her work at Gateway as soon as she is released from her position in the Peters district, which could be as early as Dec. 1 but no later than Jan. 2, she said.
In the meantime, Bob Reger will continue to serve as acting superintendent, a position he has held since former Superintendent Joseph A. Petrella accepted a job in an Illinois school district in April.
Ms. Zetty has held the top job in Peters since August 2008. She earned a doctorate in education from West Virginia University and bachelor's and master's degrees from California University of Pennsylvania. She worked as a math teacher before becoming a principal and moving up to other administrative jobs.
When asked about her biggest challenges in Peters, Ms. Zetty cited the difficulty of trying to balance a budget while providing a quality education.
She said she focused on "five areas of excellence" at Peters -- academics, athletics, artistic endeavors, character and leadership.
"I believe that extracurriculars strongly support the whole child," she said. "Education isn't just about what happens in math class or science class."
She said she intends to continue to emphasize those things in her role at Gateway, though she knows she'll face a learning curve in her move to a new district.
"I won't really know until I get there," she said.
Ms. Zetty said she wants to supplement Gateway's budget with advertising and fees for athletics and other activities. She said she also would work with parent-teacher organizations to raise funds for various district needs and seek out corporations and residents to donate textbooks.
Ms. Zetty said she loves to travel and read in her free time, though she hasn't had much time for the latter -- because she's reading up on the issues at Gateway.
She's traveled to Italy, Ireland, Scotland, England, Paris, Germany and Prague, among other places.
"I have a bucket list," she said. "Before I end that bucket list, I hope to get to Australia and Machu Picchu."
Ms. Zetty lives in Brownsville with her husband, John. She has two grown children and three grandchildren.
Annie Siebert: email@example.com or 412-263-1613. Twitter: @AnnieSiebert.