Skezas unanimous choice for McKeesport Area superintendent
Rula Skezas will succeed the departing Timothy Gabauer as McKeesport Area School District's superintendent.
Skezas, the district's assistant superintendent since 2010, received a standing ovation when school directors unanimously approved her appointment Wednesday night.
Her salary will be $140,000 on a contract that runs through Oct. 31, 2018. It includes the terms and conditions of her current contract, subject to the execution of a written agreement between the parties.
Mark Holtzman was the only director on the nine-member board who was absent.
Gabauer, who has been a teacher and administrator in the district for 19 years, will become superintendent at Mt. Pleasant Area on Nov. 1, the same day t hat Skezas will begin as McKeesport Area's top administrator.
“We're very privileged to have you come onboard with us,” school board president Patricia Maksin told her.
“The students of McKeesport are very lucky,” director Terri Kisan said.
“I'm honored and I'm humbled,” Skezas said when she had finished shaking hands and giving hugs to friends and family. “I am very proud to be a product of the McKeesport Area School District, and I hope to continue, as we face the challenges again, to allow McKeesport to be the best it can be.”
Skezas was intermediate and middle school principal from 2001 to 2010, elementary school principal from 1999 to 2001, and a Title 1 math specialist for fifth and sixth grades from 1996 to 1999.
She attended Penn State University from 1982-1984, then went on to Duquesne University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1986, a Master of Science degree in education in 1989, an administrative/elementary certificate in 1991, a superintendent letter of eligibility in 2006 and a doctorate in education in 2006.
Skezas said she plans to invest time in developing positive community awareness of the district.
“I think we need to get the word out about the wonderful programs that we have,” she said. “I'd like to try to begin or add upon our public relations campaign. I'd like people to know the wonderful things that are happening in the schools, kindergarten all the way through the 12th grade. We're one of the best-kept secrets in the Mon Valley.”
Gabauer said he did not influence the school directors' decision, but said they made the right call.
“If I would have to make a choice, guaranteed that would have been it,” Gabauer said.
Maksin said Skezas is Gabauer's ideal successor because of her passion and work ethic.
“She is so dedicated to what we're doing here,” Maksin said. “She has been onboard with every decision that we've made.”
The board formally accepted Gabauer's resignation at the meeting.
“On a personal level, I will miss his friendship, his humor and his genuine love for people,” Maksin said. “More than the personal aspect, Tim will be missed as a dynamic force in moving MASD forward, striving to be the best that we can be. No one brings more energy, vigor and vision to the table in making decisions that impact our students, our staff, our teachers, our parents and our community. Tim, you will be missed.”
Gabauer delivered his final report, highlighting tutoring and academic assistance at Founders' Hall Annex and the elementary schools.
He talked about the intramural sports program and other after-school opportunities at Founders' Hall Annex, preparations for the ground-breaking of the sixth-grade addition at Founders' Hall, an upcoming Family Fun Night and visit from the Carnegie Science Center at Twin Rivers, and the district's partnership with the city's fire department.
He ended his report by thanking the community for “so many opportunities and the support, everlasting friendships and dedicated professional relationships.”
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1965, or firstname.lastname@example.org.