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Holtzman chosen as new MAHS principal

| Thursday, July 15, 2010

McKeesport Area's school board reorganized its administration, chose a high school head principal and placed the new high school football coach in a job at the alternative education East End Academy.

Nothing came without controversy at a special meeting Wednesday, including a plea by an applicant for the principal's job who said he never heard from the district.

Mark P. Holtzman Jr. was chosen as new head high school principal by a 6-2 vote with directors Thomas Maglicco and Patricia Maksin dissenting and Holtzman's father abstaining.

"I think we need to take our time and do it right," Maglicco said, echoing the complaint of Martin Andrews, a 10-year Duquesne City School District teacher who said he submitted a 26-page educational portfolio.

"I did not receive the common courtesy of a phone call or an interview," Andrews told the board.

Board president Wayne Washowich, vice president Steven Kondrosky and directors Joseph Chiaverini, Christopher Halaszynski, Jim Brown and, by telephone, Joseph Lopretto voted to hire the younger Holtzman at a pro-rated salary of $80,000 a year.

"I'm very excited," the younger Holtzman said. "I'm looking forward to the opportunities, looking forward to the many challenges to come along."

Holtzman Jr., 31, a 2001 Syracuse graduate in sociology, holder of two master's degrees from Duquesne University and a doctoral candidate at the University of Pittsburgh, was dean of discipline in McKeesport Area High School's vocational department in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years. For the past three years, he was West Mifflin Area High School dean of discipline.

"I do not apologize for my son's return to this district," the elder Holtzman said after the meeting. "Our family is very proud of him and know he will do an outstanding job. We wish him the best."

Andrews said he started out in 1972 for four years as a teacher at McKeesport Area High School, taught for 20 years at what now is Point Park University, holds a bachelor's degree from Marshall University, a master's degree from LaRoche College and a principal's certification through Carnegie Mellon University.

In the mid-'90s Andrews was social services director for McKeesport Housing Authority then deputy executive director of the Allegheny County Housing Authority from 1997-2000.

Keith Murphy, former school board and McKeesport mayoral candidate, rose to the defense of Andrews.

"Martin Andrews I have known all my life," Murphy said. "He is an inspiration to me as an African-American." Murphy went on to criticize "the hiring process of family and friends."

Another speaker there to address the issue of new school buildings, Dr. Major A. Mason III, walked out after the vote.

"Y'all heard it, you need hear no more," Mason said.

Asked after the meeting if he might file a complaint on civil rights grounds, Andrews declined comment. Asked if the district should reconsider, he said, "I hope they do the right thing."

By a 7-2 vote with the elder Holtzman joining the majority and Maglicco and Maksin again in the minority, Chad Licht and new varsity football coach James Ward were hired to new positions as transition specialists at East End Academy.

"My concern continues that the educators' voice is not being heard," said Maksin, a former president of the teachers union, the McKeesport Area Education Association.

Licht, a behavioral specialist and the younger Holtzman's co-worker for the past three years at West Mifflin Area, also will be district dean of students and net a salary of $51,000.

Ward also will be assistant to vocational director Patricia Scales and net a $50,000 salary for that work. As football coach he also will earn $7,063.50.

Prior to the vote on personnel matters, Maksin was sole vote against a long list of recommendations to shift administrative personnel.

Scales is on that list, erasing "acting" from her role as vocational director and continuing as grant and special projects coordinator at $82,359 a year.

Harry Bauman goes from principal at Founders Hall Middle School to being secondary curriculum and transformation coordinator at $96,920 a year. Dr. Karen Chapman moves from head high school associate principal to Bauman's old job at $93,133.

Pamela Gordon moves from principal at the now-closed Cornell Intermediate School to principal at Francis McClure Intermediate School at an $83,500 salary.

Tony Demaro goes from principal at White Oak Elementary School to academic principal at the high school, getting $77,800. Dr. Tamara Sanders-Woods moves from high school associate principal of behaviors and community relations to White Oak principal at $79,800.

Thomas Knight and Tia Wanzo switch jobs, as Knight moves to assistant principal at Founders Hall and Wanzo to high school assistant principal, both at $61,000 salaries.

Paul Sebelia moves from assistant principal at Cornell to a roaming assistant elementary principal's position, working at White Oak, Centennial and George Washington for $66,200.

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