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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 shacke@tribweb.com.

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