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South Fayette names new school superintendent

| Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, 8:42 p.m.
Kenneth Lockette will become the new South Fayette Township School District superintendent on Jan. 3, 2018.
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Kenneth Lockette will become the new South Fayette Township School District superintendent on Jan. 3, 2018.

Kenneth Lockette plans to bring his global perspective from his time spent in Kazakhstan, Baltimore and Chicago to the South Fayette Township School District.

Lockette, 51, of Mars, the current assistant superintendent in the Avonworth School District, was hired last month as South Fayette's next superintendent. He is set to start Jan. 3.

Lockette will replace Bille Rondinelli whose last day is Jan. 2. She's been with the district since 2009.

“I'm looking forward to bringing the world to the schools,” Lockette said.

Lockette, who has a bachelor's degree in theater from the University of Missouri, a master's in education from DePaul University and a doctorate in instructional leadership and management from Robert Morris University, has traveled the world to educate others.

He worked in the Baltimore County Public School system and spent two years in Kazakhstan in the Peace Corps teaching English, followed later by another four years in the country teaching and overseeing the English program at an international school.

Lockette has spent the last 12 years in the Avonworth School District, where he served as high school principal for nine years prior to being named assistant superintendent 21⁄2 ago.

At Avonworth, Lockette launched Studio A, a three-day professional development workshop that partnered with the LUMA Institute and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts to promote project-based learning among teachers. He also spearheaded the Pittsburgh Galleries Project at Avonworth High School that showed students the behind-the-scenes of local museums and brought exhibits to the school's campus. That project won the Pittsburgh Technology Council's CreateFest award for educational technology.

Both Avonworth and South Fayette are part of Digital Promise's League of Innovative Schools . Through that program, Lockette said, he became “very familiar with the work Dr. Rondinelli has done” in South Fayette. He even brought teachers from Avonworth to South Fayette to learn about what the district is doing with coding and computational thinking.

Coming to South Fayette to serve as superintendent is a “great opportunity,” he said.

Rondinelli said in an email that she and Lockette have several transition days planned before she leaves the district. Rondinelli did not have the exact number of applicants who applied for the superintendent job.

“I wish Dr. Lockette the very best as he begins his South Fayette tenure as superintendent of schools, and as he embraces the ‘Tradition, Pride, and Excellence' cornerstones upon which South Fayette has built a strong record of academic, artistic, and athletic achievements,” she said.

Lockette said his biggest challenge in the new job will be taking over for Rondinelli.

“Those are big shoes to fill,” he said.

But he's up for the challenge.

Aside from bringing a global perspective, Lockette said he also plans use his theater roots to ensure the district maintains a focus in arts education.

He also plans to get out into the community to learn more about the area.

“I'm really looking forward to getting into the buildings and getting into the community,” Lockette said. “I'm honored by this opportunity.”

Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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