Panza welcomed as new West Jefferson Hills superintendent
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Friday, June 28, 2013, 2:36 a.m.
West Jefferson Hills welcomed a new superintendent and authorized two high-profile personnel changes at Thursday's school board meeting.
“We turn the page on a new chapter in our district,” board president Anthony Angotti said in reference to Superintendent Michael Panza.
“Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve you and the students of this district,” Panza said.
The board eliminated the position of communications consultant Mimi Haley and opened varsity high school baseball coach Kevin Gryboski's job.
Solicitor Ira Weiss said Gryboski's situation is a personnel matter. District officials confirmed that it stems from a post-game incident last season.
Teacher Gregg Fouts, a former coach, said the district is treating Gryboski differently than it did his predecessor Richard Krivanek, who had been coach for the previous four years.
“He admitted his mistake, apologized and moved on,” Fouts said of Gryboski, who played for the Atlanta Braves and now lives in Peters Township. “He served a suspension. The other coach did not.”
PTA board member Suzanne Downer said Haley has kept residents informed “of everything from the vouchers to the needy children in this district.”
Downer hailed Haley's “loyalty, ability and importance” to the district.
Panza said social media such as Facebook has “not been used to its fullest potential” in the district.
“That is what we are going to employ as a district,” the superintendent said.
Panza brings 14 years of experience as top administrator in Moniteau in Butler County, where he now serves as a school director, and at the Carlynton and Sto-Rox districts.
His arrival removes a cloud that has hung over the district since Superintendent Terry Kinavey was suspended in September 2009 over the removal of a teacher's name from a list of recommended hirings.
The school board conducted a series of hearings, then fired Kinavey in September 2010. She has fought the decision in the courts, but a resolution is unlikely before June 30, when Kinavey's five-year contract will expire.
Kinavey's attorney told the South Hills Record in May that his client likely would be entitled only to back pay if a court ruled in her favor.
Panza technically was hired as acting superintendent, at a per-diem rate of $576.92, until his contract takes effect on Monday.
The board accepted the resignation of Linda Hippert, who has been acting superintendent since September while continuing as executive director of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.
“We thank her for her service to the district and for her commitment,” Angotti said.
Acting Assistant Superintendent Hamsini Rajgopal is returning to full-time duty as the district's human resources director.
The board's next scheduled meeting is Aug. 20.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Versailles fire displaces couple on Third Street
- Experience the best teacher for Clairton student
- McKeesport center part of Cal’s digital storytelling class project
- Driller preps for Forward decision
- Officials give OK to develop disaster plan
- South Versailles approves budget
- Library tax adds to West Homestead budget
- Clairton to raise spending by $1M
- Versailles council OKs tentative plan
- McKeesport Festival of Trees raised holiday spirits of needy
- Man pleads guilty in drug trafficking