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Integrity, leadership key for Mars Area leader

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Integrity and leadership are the two most vital characteristics the next Mars Area School District superintendent should possess, according to a recent survey.

More than 600 district residents, parents and staff members recently completed a questionnaire asking what they wanted from a leader.

According to the results, more than 60 percent of those who filled out the survey said they wanted someone who is an advocate for public education, skilled at communications and faculty/staff relations, as well as curriculum development and budget planning.

They said that a superintendent's ability to address student achievement and addressing safety and security issues were important.

Nearly 90 percent said that integrity was vital in a superintendent, with 87.5 percent saying leadership was vital.

Superintendent William G. Pettigrew is retiring no later than Dec. 1.

Vic Morrone, who is heading the superintendent search, said on Tuesday the district received 24 applications from superintendents and assistant superintendents.

Most of the applicants are from Western and Central Pennsylvania, Marrone added. He said he couldn't provide additional information on the individual applicants until he had a chance to discuss them with the school board this week. Interviews are scheduled to begin in early April.

Board president Dayle Ferguson said the board hopes to pick a superintendent by late April or early May, and have that person formally join the district in July. She said the board will use the survey feedback. The district covers Mars, Valencia, Adams and Middlesex.

According to the survey, there are nearly 14,500 residents older than 18 in Mars Area. The district has about 3,200 students.

“We have a very active and involved community,” said Ferguson of the number of survey participants. “We have a lot of people who are interested and active in our school district. We have a community that cares about education.”

To view survey results, go to

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621.

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