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Mt. Lebanon hires 2 principals

| Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:48 p.m.
Sarah J. Shaw as the new principal of Jefferson Elementary School.Sarah J. Shaw is currently the principal of Cornell Elementary School (preK-6) in the Cornell School District. Prior to Cornell, she served as the Reading Department Chair and a Reading Specialist at the Hempfield Area School District.Ms. Shaw has a Masters Degree in Education from The University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from The Pennsylvania State University.
Melissa M. Nelson as the new assistant principal of Mellon Middle School. Melissa M. Nelson is a fourth grade teacher in the Canon-McMillan School District. Prior to her current position, Ms. Nelson worked in the Pittsburgh Public Schools at Dilworth Traditional Academy as the American Sign Language Coordinator and Instructor for K-5, Pressley Ridge School for the Deaf and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.Ms. Nelson has a Masters Degree in Elementary Education/Special Education from California University of Pennsylvania, a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Gannon University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh.

The Mt. Lebanon School Board has hired two new principals, bringing in Sarah J. Shaw from the Cornell School District and Melissa M. Nelson from the Canon-McMillan School District.

Shaw, the principal at the pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade Cornell Elementary in Coraopolis, will be the new principal at Jefferson Elementary. Nelson, a fourth-grade teacher at Canon-McMillan, will be the new assistant principal at Mellon Middle School.

“They're both really qualified, and I'm excited for them to begin,” said school board President Elaine Cappucci. “I think both the schools' staffs and parents will be happy to have them.” The school board approved the appointments this week.

Shaw will replace former Jefferson Principal Mark Thornton, who left for a position with the North Allegheny School District. Before working as a principal at Cornell, she was reading department chair and a reading specialist at the Hempfield Area School District. She has a master's degree in education from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education from Penn State.

Nelson will replace Mellon's former assistant principal, Kelly Szesterniak, who was promoted to principal at Hoover Elementary in November.

Nelson previously worked for Pittsburgh Public Schools at Dilworth Traditional Academy, and at the Pressley Ridge School for the Deaf and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. She has master's degrees in elementary/special education from California University of Pennsylvania and in curriculum and instruction from Gannon University. Her bachelor's degree is from the University of Pittsburgh.

No start date has been set for the new administrators because their current school districts must find temporary or long-term replacements for them, said Mt. Lebanon district spokeswoman Cissy Bowman. Shaw's starting salary as principal will be $89,000 a year; Nelson will make $75,000 a year as assistant principal.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-380-5625 or

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