Fox Chapel Area search proceeding to replace retiring superintendent

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About 25 people have gone through a first round of interviews for the top spot in the Fox Chapel Area School District, but the one who finally lands the role will have to be an "excellent communicator," a board member said.

The district hosted several superintendent search group meetings in September led by consultant Tom Templeton and has contracted with the Pennsylvania School Boards Association for up to $13,000 in assistance during the search, according to the district.

After hearing from stakeholders, Sandra Garbisch, chairwoman of the four-person superintendent search committee, said the district's new leader also will have to "keep moving us forward."

A second round of interviews will be conducted in the coming weeks, with the hope of naming superintendent Anne Stephens' successor by early to mid-December, she said.

"We've tried very hard to make [the search] transparent," Ms. Garbisch said.

Ms. Stephens in June announced her retirement, effective Dec. 31 -- after having held the district's top spot since January 2006 -- amid criticisms from a group of residents upset that her Ph.D. in educational administration was conferred by LaSalle University in Mandeville, La.

The unaccredited school was raided in 1996 by the FBI, which alleged it was a diploma mill. The founder pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion.

Board president Joel Weinstein has said Ms. Stephens had been discussing her retirement since December.

Although not a state mandate, the district requires that its superintendent holds a doctoral degree, but the word "accredited" didn't appear its requirements when Ms. Stephens applied. A PSBA brochure now promoting the position states, "degrees must be earned from accredited institutions." Applications were accepted through Sept. 16.

education - neigh_north

Lexi Belculfine:, 412-263-1878 or on Twitter @LexiBelc. First Published October 14, 2013 8:00 PM


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