The Propel charter schools began this school year with a new leader.
Tina Chekan, who has worked in the Propel system since its inception in 2003, took over the superintendent and chief executive officer position after Carol Wooten, Propel's co-founder and superintendent for the past 10 years, retired.
Ms. Chekan, 43, of South Park began her career at Propel Homestead teaching kindergarten. She worked as a literacy coach and principal at Propel McKeesport before becoming the assistant superintendent in 2011.
Ms. Chekan said Ms. Wooten will remain "very connected" at Propel despite her retirement. She said Ms. Wooten is consulting and teaching at the University of Pittsburgh.
Ms. Chekan said she hopes to continue to expand the Propel system, which now has seven K-8 schools and two high schools throughout Allegheny County. The system that had less than 200 students in 2003 now has more than 3,100 and a "strong waiting list," she said.
"As it's grown and continued to flourish, I think we've been a powerful force in education," she said.
Ms. Chekan said she hopes to "continue to foster a challenging and engaging environment" for students and staff. She said she wants to ensure a smooth transition to the curriculum of the Common Core State Standards and focus on students' academic and personal growth.
She said she also hopes to continue to foster the "highly collaborative professional culture" among teachers and administrators.
And she said she wants to "strengthen [Propel's] talent pipeline."
"People make the difference," she said.
Ms. Chekan said she counts Ms. Wooten among her mentors and said "it's an honor to have this opportunity to continue to shape Propel's evolution."
Ms. Chekan has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Ball State University, a master's in deaf education from Pitt, a K-12 principal certification from Gannon University and she is pursuing a doctorate in administration and policy at Pitt.
Annie Siebert: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1613 or on Twitter @AnnieSiebert.