Search firm sought to find superintendent for Peters schools

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Peters school directors plan to use a search firm to help find its next superintendent.

The board decided Monday to seek proposals from firms.

The current officeholder, Nina Zetty, resigned to accept a job as superintendent of Gateway School District and is expected to work through the end of November.

Joseph Dimperio, the interim superintendent named by the board last week, said Monday he believes the board's selection will be an important one.

"I don't think this is going to be rocket science," he said during Monday's personnel committee meeting. "The process and selection of a superintendent is probably your most important decision, because that's the person who will be leading the district on a daily basis."

Though board members expressed an interest in hearing input from parents and community members about what they're looking for in a new leader, committee chairman David Hvizdos said the board will make the final determination.

Director Lori Cuervo said she would prefer a search similar to a company executive hiring process.

"When you think about what this district is, it's a company and the superintendent is the CEO," she said. "I'm looking for a fresh way to find the CEO of the district."

Mr. Dimperio, who also served as acting superintendent in Peters during the 2008 transition between Ms. Zetty and former superintendent Timm Mackley, said he felt the district was in a good position to find a qualified candidate.

"Peters Township is in an excellent, excellent position," he said. "You have a quality district."

Mr. Dimperio said he thought it would take about three to four months to identify a candidate and another month or two to have the person in place.

The board directed business manager Vincent Belczyk to seek proposals from search firms and hopes to begin advertising by the new year.

Several residents offered suggestions, including former board member Allison McClure, who recommended that the board decide on whether to seek candidates in state or out of state.

When it came to specific qualities in a candidate, including determining the geographical boundary for the search, Mr. Hvizdos called for a private session to discuss the issue.

Board members retired to executive session after the brief committee meeting, made public only after a Post-Gazette reporter complained when Mr. Hvizdos originally scheduled the entire session as a closed meeting.

According to the state's Sunshine Law, executive sessions can be called to discuss personnel or prospective personnel, but only when a specific person is the subject of discussion.

The board may have been wary of publicly discussing their dissatisfaction with Mr. Mackley, who was from Ohio. Mr. Mackley's employment contract with the district was severed early in conjunction with a confidential agreement between him and the district.

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Janice Crompton: or 412-851-1867.


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