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Aiken Elementary principal ready to fit right in at school in Keystone Oaks School District

| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 9:28 p.m.
Aiken Elementary Principal Mark Iampietro meets with students, from left, Emma Serakowski, Patrick Simmons, Brady Ferguson and Conner Sterrett. Submitted photo
Mark Iampietro greets students, from left, Emma Serakowski, Brynna White, Ashley Lugaila, Kaylee Maide and Eva Christy, having replaced Bobbi-Ann Barnes as principal of Aiken Elementary in the Keystone Oaks School District. Submitted photo
Quinn Phillippi
Aiken Elementary Principal Mark Iampietro meets with students, from left, Emma Serakowski, Patrick Simmons, Brady Ferguson and Conner Sterrett. Submitted photo

Keystone Oaks School District officials were looking for a kind - but firm - principal at Aiken Elementary in Green Tree.

Dozens of applicants later, the school board hired Mark Iampietro, 38, as Aiken's new principal. Iampietro was a former middle school reading teacher, elementary learning support teacher and assistant middle school wrestling coach at the Baldwin-Whitehall School District.

He replaces former principal Bobbi-Anne Barnes, who moved on to Dormont Elementary School.

Iampietro said of the four principal positions he applied for last year, he was the most excited about Aiken.

“I just felt very comfortable,” said Iampietro, a native of Baldwin Borough, who still lives there. “I just felt in my mind that this could be a good fit for me.”

Growing up, Iampietro had a hunch that he wanted to become a teacher.

“I always liked helping people. I always liked talking to people, talking with them, talking their problems out,” he said.

Iampietro was aware coming into the job he had big shoes to fill. Under Barnes, Aiken received the National Blue Ribbon Award in 2011, the first time Aiken has received such an award.

Impietro also has a reputation as a kind yet firm teacher and principal. This is exactly what the board and administrators were looking for in Barnes' replacement, said Jim Cromie, the district's public relations specialist.

“Mark demonstrated a very decisive command,” he said. “We knew we would need someone with some of the same skills as (Barnes). We believe Iampietro has those.

“She (Bobbi-Anne Barnes) could be tough and demanding. But she knew that how to be a good leader in the sense that you sometimes need to (back off) and let the kids realize for themselves what they did wrong,” Cromie said.

The district is paying Iampietro $70,000 per year. He started at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year.

Outside of his job, Iampietro loves to travel. He has been to Las Vegas and enjoys taking trips to Arizona.

“This,” he said, “is what I like to do best. I will concentrate on this for now.”

Jeff Widmer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or jwidmer@tribweb.com.

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