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Gateway assistant superintendent to retire

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By Kyle Lawson
Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

A level-headed approach to drafting Gateway policies is one of the attributes that school administrators said they'll miss when Assistant Superintendent Theresa Piatek retires at the end of the school year.

The school board was scheduled to accept her retirement notice Wednesday night — after this publication's deadline.

Piatek worked as an administrator for five years with the district, which included one year as special-education director and four years as assistant superintendent.

“She's done a lot for Gateway,” district spokeswoman Cara Zanella said Tuesday.

“She made a lot of changes when she came here that affected students in a positive way.”

Piatek said she was most proud of two policies she spearheaded that addressed students' use of technology.

The first policy amended the district bullying policy to include cyber bullying.

The second policy lifted a ban on cellphones at the high school and encouraged students to use their technology devices for educational purposes, while monitored by teachers.

The “bring your own device” policy helped bridge the generational gap between teachers and students, and it affected positive change to the overall education of students, said Gateway curriculum director Nancy Hines, who was a principal in the Penn Hills School District before she was hired at Gateway.

“Penn Hills is a large district, like Gateway, and kids were sneaking them in anyway,” Hines said. “So if you can't beat them, you've got to join them.”

When Piatek was hired at Gateway, she brought with her a wide range of experience as both a teacher and a special-education teacher.

Her first job out of college was at a Native American reservation in Utah, where she expanded the kindergarten program with the help of state grant funding.

As a special-education teacher in the Baldwin School District for seven years, she instituted buildingwide advisory-program development.

“Every time you step up, the demands are different,” Piatek said. “I think that every position kind of prepares you. In each successive position, you have more exposure to the overall things that have to happen in a school district.”

Prior to working at Gateway, Piatek was an administrator with the Penn Hills School District at the same time that Hines was the Penn Hills High School principal.

“She's helped mentor me as a central administrator,” Hines said. “She's business, business, business — but also has a heart for employees.”

Piatek, 59, said she looks forward to a break from long meetings and the “rigid” schedule of a school administrator. She said her retirement plans include traveling, hiking and relaxing — “the things I don't have time for right now.”

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or

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