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Jeannette Superintendent Sharon Marks to retire

After 25 years with the Jeannette School District and more than three as its superintendent, Sharon Marks will be retiring in January.

School directors unanimously approved Marks' resignation for the purpose of retirement, with regret, during Monday's board meeting. Her retirement will take effect Jan. 3.

"We thank you for your time and everything you've done for us," said director Randy Highlands.

Marks, 59, did not want to comment after last night's meeting, saying she would probably speak about her retirement in December.

Board President David Valerio said a search is under way for a replacement with assistance from Vincent Aiello, who served as Jeannette superintendent for more than 21 years and Wayne Doyle, former superintendent of the Hempfield Area, Gateway, Woodland Hills and Turtle Creek school districts.

"We've started our superintendent search," Valerio said. "They're going to lead our search and advise us."

Marks replaced Aiello as superintendent in October 2007. Before that, she was principal of Jeannette High School, assistant to the elementary school principal and a fifth-grade teacher.

School directors also approved the formation of a learning support classroom with autistic focus at the elementary school. The classroom will enable instruction for students with such needs in the district as opposed to an outside instructional facility provided by the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit.

"We'll have the ability to have a classroom in one of our buildings that has an autistic focus," Marks said. "The hope is this will be a service we can provide to students of other school districts because we have the room available, we have the staff available and we thought this would be a good opportunity to service our own children and open it to children of other districts."

Teachers' in-service days will begin Aug. 24 with classes starting Aug. 29.

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