O'Neil set to be principal at Hillcrest Intermediate School

| Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Students attending Norwin's Hillcrest Intermediate School will have a new principal when they return to class following summer vacation.

He might be a familiar face to many of the 800 or so fifth- and sixth-graders who attend the school.

The district has hired Brian O'Neil, 35, of North Huntingdon, who has been the middle school's assistant principal and cyber education coordinator since coming to Norwin in 2012, to serve as Hillcrest's new principal. O'Neil's salary at Hillcrest will be $116,774 a year, according to district officials.

He will replace retiring principal Rosemarie Dvorchak, who has been in the position since 2002. “I think many of the kids at Hillcrest will certainly know my face,” O'Neil said. “I've really been making an effort to get up there as often as I can to meet with the teachers and learn as much as I can about the systems that have been established.”

O'Neil said his aim as principal will be to build on what Dvorchak has established.

“I'm not necessarily looking to come in and change things,” he said. “I'll be looking at what we have, and when necessary, add to it. It's been really nice to spend time with Mrs. Dvorchak as I make the transition. My goal is to help the children grow academically and socially.”

O'Neil said he has been impressed with the staff at Hillcrest.

“The teachers are tremendous, and they are committed to providing the best educational experience possible,” he said. “I feel blessed to be at Norwin. It's a very exciting time for me and I can't wait to get started at Hillcrest.”

Dvorchak thinks O'Neil has the right attitude to be a solid principal at the intermediate school.

“He is very enthusiastic and has such a positive attitude,” she said. “I really believe he will be a great influence in this building and is committed to guiding the academic and social needs of the children here.”

Before coming to Norwin, O'Neil spent nearly three years as the assistant principal at Kiski Area High School in Vandergrift. Prior to that he taught mathematics for eight years at Penn-Trafford High School, where he also was the head teacher, the district's scholarship coordinator and coached football and volleyball.

He began his career in education as a geometry teacher at the former Peabody High School in Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood.

O'Neil earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics, a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, and his principal certification at Gannon University in Erie.

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or at tlarussa@tribweb.com

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