Last May, news broke that Shaler Area superintendent Dr. Wesley Shipley signed a contract with Mars High School to become the school’s superintendent for the upcoming school year. In turn, Shaler was put into a difficult predicament, because a superintendent’s contract generally starts in June.
The Shaler Area School Board approved Dr. Victor Morrone to act as an interim superintendent and help in the search for a new superintendent. Morrone, who retired 8 years ago, has come out of retirement to help Shaler Area find the best possible candidate to lead the school district.
Morrone has ties to Shaler Area dating all the way back to 1965 when he became a graduate of the school district. Also, he was the principal of multiple Shaler schools that existed before the merger occurred.
Because of these ties, Morrone became a perfect candidate for the interim job due to his allegiance to the school. In turn, he hopes the new superintendent of Shaler has the same pride for the district as he does.
“I felt like I had an allegiance to the district and so I came out of retirement because I think this is a really good district. I’m hoping that we get someone in here who will feel an allegiance to Shaler. I hope they’ll make a commitment to spend a long time here,” Morrone said.
Finding a new superintendent is a complex process with many different avenues that began with communication with the school board. Then, Shaler Area took a different approach and sent out community surveys for the public’s opinion.
According to the survey results, the top characteristics the community wanted in the next superintendent included leadership, innovative qualities, and a strong sense of integrity. The school board looked over those results and started the search for the next superintendent. According to Morrone, the district is looking for the perfect candidate.
“When we talk about ‘perfect’ we are talking about the best candidate fit for our district. This means we are searching for someone who is not only skilled but also is outgoing, accessible, a good listener, honest and ethical, experienced, and someone who really is committed to Shaler and wants to be part of our school and community,” Morrone said.
It was thought that person was found earlier this year. The job was offered to someone, but the candidate decided to stay in his current position.
The allure of a AAAA school district has failed to lure that perfect candidate yet, which is somewhat surprising.
“Usually most superintendents go from a small district to a bigger district for advancement… Superintendents would like to end their career in a quad A district,” Morrone said.
As for the current status of the search, Morrone described it as ongoing. The school board hopes that the superintendent search will be wrapped up by February with a new superintendent in place.
One position that has been filled is that of assistant superientendent. Mrs. Kara Eckert resigned at the end of last year and she has been replaced by Dr. Bryan O’Black. O’Black served as the interim assistant superintendent before being named the the position permanently.
“First and foremost over the past seven years that I have worked in Shaler Area I have had the opportunity to witness the tremendous growth in the areas of academics, the arts, athletics and extracurricular activities,” O’Black said.