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Moon Area hires new schools superintendent

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Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, 9:39 a.m.

The Moon Area school board has hired Curtis Baker, deputy superintendent of Roanoke City Public Schools in Virginia, as the district's new superintendent.

The board and administrators wouldn't comment on Tuesday on Baker's salary or his start date because he has not signed his four-year contract. The school board hired him in a unanimous vote on Monday, subject to state Department of Education approval.

Baker would replace former Superintendent Donna Milanovich, who retired June 28 after six years in the position.

He says in his resume that the graduation rate at Roanoke increased more than 20 percent during his tenure, and the district opened a $57 million high school on time and under budget and completed other capital projects.

Baker couldn't be reached for comment at his Roanoke office.

Baker formerly was chief financial officer for the School District of Lancaster in eastern Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Southern California, studied at the London School of Economics and holds a master's degree from Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

He is a former school board president of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District in Chester and Delaware counties.

Francis “Butch” Santicola of Moon, a retired Pennsylvania State Education Association representative, said at Monday's meeting that he is concerned that Baker has no public-school teaching experience, and that his primary expertise is with financial, and not educational, details.

“He has a great resume if he is applying for business manager,” Santicola said later.

Several board members said after the meeting they were not as concerned.

“I don't want him to do the job (of education). I want him to lead,” board President Sandra McCurdy said. “I'm confident we have a lot of educators in the district; we don't have a lot of leaders. A strong leader can lead us to the next level.”

Staff writer Matt Santoni contributed to this report. Sandra Fischione Donovan is a freelance writer.

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