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Pine-Richland School District welcomes two new principals

About Rachel Farkas

By Rachel Farkas

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Pine-Richland School District will welcome two new principals to the district this year.

The school board unanimously approved hiring Steven Smith as principal of Eden Hall Upper Elementary School and Laura Burns as assistant principal at Pine-Richland High School at the Aug. 12 board meeting.

Superintendent Brian Miller said Burns and Smith were selected as candidates through a comprehensive three-step interview process.

Smith has served as principal at Seneca Valley's Haine Middle School since 2007.

He has worked as a teacher, assistant principal and principal at Seneca Valley since 1999.

“Mr. Smith will bring a significant amount of leadership experience to Pine-Richland School District,” Miller said. “His experiences with students, staff and parents at the upper-elementary level will provide value to Eden Hall.”

Smith earned his bachelor's degree in elementary education and master's degree in special education from Slippery Rock University and obtained his K-12 elementary and secondary principal certification from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

He is working on his doctorate in education in administrative and leadership studies from the University of Phoenix.

Smith will receive a salary of $110,000 in his new position as principal at Eden Hall, said Rachel Hathhorn, district director of communications.

Burns has been serving as the assistant principal at Carlynton Junior/Senior High School since 2010. Prior to that, she taught social studies for eight years in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District.

She also was the social-studies department chairwoman and alternative-education administrator at Baldwin.

“During her time at Carlynton Junior/Senior High, Mrs. Burns gained valuable experience in all building administrative responsibilities,” Miller said. “She will provide an important complement to the administrative team at the high school.”

Burns earned a bachelor's degree in history and master's degree in teaching with social studies teaching certification from the University of Pittsburgh, Miller said.

She earned her master's degree of public management and K-12 principal certification from Carnegie Mellon University. She will receive a salary of $73,250, in her new position, Hathhorn said.

There is no set start date for Burns or Smith, as they have to work out release dates from their current school districts.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or




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