New-Ken Arnold will have new-look school security

Liz Hayes
| Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, 12:59 a.m.

The New Kensington-Arnold School Board restructured the district's security staff in preparation for the start of school on Wednesday.

The board this week established three security officer positions while eliminating two classroom monitors.

Superintendent John Pallone said Lori Waltonbaugh, Mike Spagnolo and William Colosimo III will work as security officers primarily at Valley Junior-Senior High School, which now includes grades seven through 12 as a result of a districtwide consolidation. The officers will be paid $17 per hour plus benefits.

Spagnolo had one of the classroom monitor jobs. Mike Stone's classroom monitor position was eliminated, too; he was not rehired.

Pallone said the unarmed security officers would be responsible for protecting students, staff and facilities while acting “as a deterrent to unsafe and poor behavior.” Pallone did not want to detail their duties for fear of compromising school security.

He said the officers, along with other district staff, would be involved in screening students as they arrive in the mornings and pass through metal detectors.

The district reconfigured the process by which students can enter the building. All buses will unload students in the “circle” near the school office.

Parents dropping off children will not be permitted to drive in the circle and mingle with buses. Parents can drop off students in the parking lot.

One of the concerns parents voiced in discussions about the consolidation was that the high school building had problems with student behavior and discipline that would be exacerbated by the addition of two grades.

Board President Bob Pallone, who has been critical of excessive violations of the code of conduct, had promised better discipline would be a priority this school year.

John Pallone said two classroom monitors are still employed by the district. They will work at the Roy A. Hunt (previously Valley Middle School) and H.D. Berkey elementary schools.

In February, the district and New Kensington agreed to establish a school resource officer position, with New Kensington police Officer Joe Locke working primarily from the junior-senior high school.

Pallone said William “Muzzy” Colosimo was tasked with coordinating security in addition to overseeing district athletics when he was hired as the full-time athletic director in July.

Pallone said he did not consider it a problem that “Muzzy” Colosimo, as security director, would have a supervisory role over his son, William Colosimo III, one of the new security officers.

Pallone noted that many employees, including himself, work alongside relatives at New Kensington-Arnold: “There are many family members that work within a variety of capacities in the district. I'm not aware of it causing any problems.”

“Muzzy” Colosimo is the district's new varsity football coach and a weight-room monitor; his son serves as one of his assistant coaches.

More personnel moves

The board hired five teachers and filled several other positions on Tuesday.

Megan Nelson, Gina Brestensky and Katie Emmerling will teach special education students; Sean O'Neil will teach music; and Raymond Sharkins will teach art. Their placement on the union's salary schedule had not been determined.

Bobbie Jo Pawlowski was hired as a school nurse at a salary of about $43,000.

The board restructured the cafeteria and custodial staff to better serve the reconfigured schools, Pallone said.

Although the number of positions fell from 10 to seven, Pallone said no one lost a job because the reduction was accomplished through attrition.

The restructuring resulted in a number of members of the district's support staff union bidding into new positions.

In the custodial department, Joel Marzullo moved to a yearlong maintenance job; Erin Beattie and Jamie Gonzales will work 8-hour days in custodial jobs rather than a 6-hour days; and Christine Rhoades transferred from a cook to a custodian.

Of the cafeteria staff, Mary Ann Capone moved from assistant cook to cook; Lisa Phillis, Mary Ann Napoli and Denise Marshall from servers to assistant cooks; Becky Enciso took an assistant cook job with two fewer daily hours; Stephanie Taylor and Kathy Schwartz moved to server jobs with more daily hours; and Amy Albright got an assistant cook job with more hours.

The salaries of the union members range from $12 per hour to almost $21 per hour.

Other staff changes include transferring Renee Dressel from a personal care aide to a building aide at Roy A. Hunt Elementary and Christina Domme from a cafeteria monitor to a classroom aide at Valley Junior-Senior High, both at $13.50 per hour; and Kim Prosky from cafeteria monitor to a temporary personal care aide position at Martin Elementary for $13 per hour.

Wendy Duncan, Janna Schreckengost and Elise Grogno were hired as personal care aides; their salaries weren't immediately available.

Finally, the board accepted the resignations of special education teacher Matthew Kline; elementary teacher Holly Schohn; math teacher Diane Swigart; and aide Regina Brestensky; and the retirement of art teacher Karla Grant.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or

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