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South Fayette school library named in honor of long-time pacesetter

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
South Fayette school board President Leonard Fornella

Future students will know the name Fornella.

The recent grand opening of South Fayette Intermediate School was an emotional moment for school board member Leonard Fornella, 60, when he learned that the library was named in his honor.

“I was humbled and somewhat embarrassed by it,” said Fornella, a board member for 33 years who is seeking re-election in November.

Fornella said he is proud of the direction the district has taken. Over the years, he has seen the construction of the high school, a new stadium, and most recently, the opening of the intermediate school.

He was 27 years old when he joined the school board in 1980. Making administrative decisions, however, is his night job. During the day, he is a litigation/commercial lawyer, working for the Babst Calland firm. His legal background is what drove him into finding a place on the board.

“It's just really something I've always enjoyed doing,” Fornella said. “I was interested in serving the community and bettering the education environment.”

Superintendent Bille Rondinelli said the naming honor was fitting.

“Mr. Fornella's commitment to academics, visionary leadership, stewardship and public service provides an outstanding example of servant leadership,” Rondinelli said.

Driving the district's ambitions has kept him going.

“I want to accelerate, and strive toward academic excellence,” Fornella said. “It's been a joy and a challenge to watch and manage the growth of kids.”

For Fornella, the growth of the district over the years is a good sign of progress.

“We've had dynamic administrators, and as you get better employees, more people want to move into the school,” Fornella said.

That kind of growth is contagious, he said.

“Success is breeding success, and we want that to continue.”

David Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5804 or dpaulk@tribweb.com.

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