A newsmaker you should know: Two promoted to fill posts at Seneca Valley schools

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When it came time to find new administrators at Seneca Valley, the district didn't have to look far.

Sean McCarty, formerly principal of Seneca Valley Middle School, was promoted this summer to assistant superintendent in charge of kindergarten through sixth grade instruction.

And last month, the assistant middle school principal, Andrea Peck, took over as middle school principal.

"We do take pride in that we have a lot of great people and we try to grow them professionally," Mr. McCarty said.

School board members looked at candidates both internally and outside the district when searching for replacements for those positions. The promotions occurred after Jeffrey Fuller left the assistant superintendent position to become superintendent of Freedom Area School District.

After Mr. McCarty moved into Mr. Fuller's position, Ms. Peck became acting principal at Seneca Valley Middle School and then was named principal last month.

Mr. McCarty and Ms. Peck take great pride in the success at the middle school in recent years.

"That building has been a lighthouse for the district for many years," Mr. McCarty said.

Last month, Seneca Valley Middle School was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, one of eight in the state and the only school in Western Pennsylvania to get the designation this year.

It was chosen for its "exemplary high performance," a designation that means it is among the state's highest-performing schools.

In recent years, the school received a Don Eichhorn Award for Middle School Excellence and a National Schools to Watch designation.

Administrators note that the school has achieved Adequate Yearly Progress, the measure Pennsylvania uses to determine whether schools are achieving guidelines set by the federal No Child Left Behind law, for the last 10 years.

"Probably one of my proudest professional achievements was the Blue Ribbon," said Mr. McCarty, who was principal at the middle school for five years. "It was nice to get that acknowledgement."

Ms. Peck agreed.

She came to work at the middle school in Mr. McCarty's first year as principal and takes great pride in the atmosphere in the school.

"Everyone's part of the team. When every kid walks in, they have a sense of belonging. When you have a sense of belonging, you feel more confident," she said.

Both say becoming educators was a dream they had discovered in their youth.

"You have that teacher that makes an impact," Mr. McCarty said. "I probably couldn't have predicted the role I'm in today, but once I started to get involved, I always wanted to learn more."

Ms. Peck said she has always enjoyed teaching, even in her teenage years when she was a lifeguard.

"This has been a dream come true because of my passion for learning and for children," she said.

Both say they miss the students and try to get into the classroom as much as possible.

"I always leave with a smile on my face from a classroom full of students," Ms. Peck said.

Mr. McCarty and Ms. Peck both said they are still learning their new positions, but their previous positions in the middle school have been helpful in their new roles.

"It feels like I'm coming full circle, having started out in elementary and special education," Mr. McCarty said. "I also think there are a lot of parallels to running with this position and running a building."

Ms. Peck said under Mr. McCarty's tenure at the middle school, she always felt they were "co-principals."

She admits she has had a lot to do these past few months of handling the duties of both principal and assistant principal. But that didn't stop her from planning and executing opening-day procedures and coming up with a five-year vision plan for the middle school.

"I've become the ultimate multitasker," she said.

education - neigh_north

Laure Cioffi, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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