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Derry Area English teacher to lose job in June

Jeff Himler
| Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Derry Area School District will need one less English instructor next school year. As a result, the board voted last week to terminate the employment of Mark Curcio, one of the newest additions to the district's English teaching staff.

Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Walters noted that Derry Area traditionally has offered both developmental reading and English courses in grades 6-8, with students in grades 9-12 enrolled in English only. She explained the two middle school courses will now be rolled into a single integrated language arts class — in keeping with new Common Core Standards adopted by the state Department of Education.

So beginning in the 2013-14 school year, the district will need one fewer English-certified teacher in grades 6-12.

Curcio, who is midway through his third year of teaching English to the district's secondary students, will be the odd man out. Employed by the district as a temporary professional, he will mark his last day of work on June 4.

“Something like that is not an easy thing to do,” school board President Dave Krinock said of Curcio's termination. “He's a very good teacher.”

Curcio is well-liked by the school's students, Krinock added.

In addition to his classroom duties, Curcio has taken an active role in school athletics and activities. He has assisted with Derry Area's online school newspaper, The Trojan Horse, and has handled head coaching duties for the district's varsity track and girls soccer programs.

In other staffing decisions for the coming year, the school board voted to establish the position of 10-month middle school assistant principal along with an at-will, 12-month Level I technology support position.

The assistant principal position had existed but was eliminated in a recent reshuffling of administrative tasks. That job was replaced by the position of dean of students.

Growing administrative responsibilities at the middle school have prompted a switch back to the principal title, Walters said. Those responsibilities will include overseeing new teacher evaluation procedures.

Walters added that as use of technology has expanded at the district, costs have increased for keeping the many devices in good repair. That task has been handled by a contractor, but Derry Area officials believe the district will save money by having a designated employee perform the service in-house, she said.

Jeff Himler is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2910, or jhimler@tribweb.com.

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