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Plum hires assistant high school principal

| Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Shannon Crombie's life was going well a little more than a decade ago.

Crombie was working as a lawyer for Buchanan Ingersoll.

At the same time, Crombie, 38, of Mt. Lebanon, began volunteering as an assistant coach in the Mt. Lebanon School District.

Crombie enjoyed the coaching experience so much that she decided a career change was in order, and she went back to school to earn her teaching certificate.

“I liked working with kids,” said Crombie, who played basketball while a student at Oakland Catholic High School in Pittsburgh. “I wasn't particularly excited with the legal job.”

A decade into her teaching career, Crombie, a social-studies teacher in the Canon-McMillan School District, has been hired for an administrative job in Plum.

The Plum School Board during a special meeting last week voted 7-1 to approve Crombie's hiring as an assistant high school principal as recommended by the administration. She replaces Michael Loughren, who left the district at the beginning of the school year to take a job as high school principal in the Carlynton School District.

Crombie's salary was set at $75,000.

Crombie's start date will be determined by Superintendent Timothy Glasspool, according to the board motion. Board member Shane McMasters dissented. He said he supported hiring Maj. Scott Kolar, Air Force Junior ROTC instructor at the high school, for the job. Board member Loretta White did not attend the Nov. 12 meeting.

Crombie said learned about the opening in August from the Plum district's website. Timing was perfect, as Crombie had just completed the principal-certification program at California University of Pennsylvania.

She decided to apply and had four interviews with a mixture of administrators and board members.

“I am so excited to meet the teaching staff and work with everyone,” Crombie said. “My goal is the same as in teaching. I want to help students become successful in life and after graduation from high school.”

Board member Joe Tommarello, education-committee chairman, said he was impressed with Crombie's zeal for the job.

“She has a great personality and is very enthusiastic,” Tommarello said. “She will be a great fit for the district.”

The administrative team is looking forward to welcoming a new member.

“Her strong interpersonal skills, knowledge and diversified talents will be a solid match for the position's current, and future requirements,” Assistant Superintendent Guy Rossi said. “She joins us as an educator who is devoted to student success and achievement and will help further our continuous improvement efforts.”

Crombie will join Rachel Gattuso, who was hired as an assistant high school principal in September 2012 to replace Justin Stephans, who was appointed principal at Regency Park Elementary.

High school Principal Ryan Kociela said he is impressed with Crombie's varied background.

“I am confident that Shannon will become a valued addition to the staff and administrative team at Plum Senior High,” Kociela said.

“Her prior experiences and accomplishments in and out of education will provide a strong leadership capacity and instructional resource to our school. We are excited and looking forward to her arrival.”

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or

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