ShareThis Page

Retiring superintendent 'went the extra mile' for Moon Area

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 9:08 p.m.
Donna Milanovich, newsmaker for Dec. 27
Donna Milanovich, newsmaker for Dec. 27

Donna Milanovich spent six years as superintendent of Moon Area School District, where she began her 38-year teaching career and spent much of those six years shepherding two building projects.

But even though she has four years left on her five-year contract, she decided to retire effective June 28 to relax, travel, read, volunteer, teach and spend more time with her husband, Bob, and two grown sons.

“It's been a very ambitious six years,” she said. “Jobs as superintendent are very difficult and very stressful. People once served 20 to 25 years. I don't think that's possible anymore. … I caution people not to enter into this position until late in their careers.

“Things were different before No Child Left Behind and those kinds of accountability. ... The landscape has changed.”

The literal landscape of the district also changed during the tenure of Milanovich, 59, of Center, Beaver County, who oversaw the building of a $76 million Moon Area High School and a $45 million renovation of the old high school to convert it to a middle school.

The high school project languished for 10 years as boards changed. Then, during Milanovich's tenure, the board voted to start construction on the high school, which opened in January 2011 on University Boulevard. When the high school students left their old building on Beaver Grade Road, its transformation began.

Milanovich had to step in when the general contractor defaulted on the contract.

“I learned so much about the construction process,” she said. And though some parents had expressed concerns about adding fifth-graders to the middle school, “we had the smoothest transition” last fall, she said.

Under her direction, Moon opened a cyberschool a year ago.

“I have nothing but praise for her,” said school board member Jeffrey Bussard. “She went the extra mile on the facilities, doing things a superintendent shouldn't have to.”

Milanovich pointed to other accomplishments, including the implementation of all-day kindergarten last fall.

“Moon was one of the last school districts to offer public kindergarten,” she said. “I'm really glad we didn't hold out on all-day kindergarten until the very end.”

She also cited:

• Starting partnerships with nearby Robert Morris University, which provides the district with student teachers and may work with the district in theatrical productions;

• Introducing more informational technology programs;

• Strengthening the music programs, including after-school professional instructors for voice and instrumental lessons and an Advance Placement music theory class in the high school.

“She's accomplished an awful lot,” said board member Laura Schisler. “She's been a great educational leader.”

The board will search to replace Milanovich but Schisler gave no date by which it hopes to hire someone.

Sandra Fischione Donovan is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.