ShareThis Page

Brentwood bracing for change

| Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The Brentwood community will be asked to contribute in a search for the school district's next leader.

Online surveys and face-to-face meetings with residents will help district leaders determine what characteristics residents would like to see in the next Brentwood Borough School District superintendent, board members said Monday.

“We want to make sure we get the best breed,” board member Richard Briner said. “We also value community involvement, community opinion.”

Board members last week hired the Allegheny Intermediate Unit to assist in the search for a new superintendent, as eight-year superintendent Ronald Dufalla plans to retire at the end of June.

“We hope they bring us another Dr. Dufalla,” board President Robert Kircher said.

Dufalla, 59, of McKeesport, has worked in education for 38 years, 37 of which were spent in the Brentwood Borough School District. He announced his retirement in November.

Board members are working with officials from the AIU to set criteria in the superintendent search, Kircher said.

The Allegheny Intermediate Unit came “highly recommended” for this job and has proven successful in nearby school districts finding top candidates, Kircher said. “They have a good grasp on all of the districts and the available candidates.”

“Doing a search properly is a lot of work,” Briner said.

The search will be local “for right now,” Kircher said.

The AIU will handle the “nuts and bolts” of the superintendent's search, including advertising the position and screening of candidates, Kircher said.

“They have good sources and a good process,” Briner said.

Brentwood officials said they are being aggressive with the search and want to have a new superintendent in place so that Dufalla can train the person. Yet, they want to make sure they find the right person for the job.

“We're not interested in having a temporary or interim superintendent,” Kircher said.

Finding the right person is of the utmost importance.

“It's critical,” Briner said. “We want to continue the momentum of the district as being a really excellent district.”

The new superintendent also will need to oversee curriculum and technology needs, as well help the district through tough financial times, board members said.

Eight years ago when the district searched for a new superintendent, it was a search not only for a leader, but also a person that could serve in a dual role as business manager.

While the next Brentwood superintendent will have to wear many hats, business manager won't be one of them, as the district hired its first business manager, Jennifer Pesanka, in January 2012.

“We feel like we have a great staff in place,” Kircher said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.