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Penn-Trafford board approves administrator's move to superintendent as it accepts Butler's resignation

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 8:52 p.m.

One of Penn-Trafford's top administrators was elevated to interim superintendent this week after school directors approved Superintendent Thomas Butler's resignation.

On Butler's final day, Aug. 5, Assistant Superintendent Matthew Harris will move into the interim role until Feb. 3.

School directors approved the two moves unanimously during their regular meeting.

“Doc, I wish you all the luck in the world,” said Director Nick Petrucci in making a motion to accept Butler's resignation.

After two years with the district, Butler is set to become executive director of Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8, based in Blair County.

Butler came to Penn-Trafford from Ridgway Area School District in Elk County.

“We went on a big search a couple years ago and pulled, what I believe, was an ace out of our hats,” Petrucci said.

Butler is earning $135,200 a year at Penn-Trafford. Directors praised his insight and implementation of new programs into classrooms.

“The two years he's been here, I think, have been a phenomenal opportunity for Penn-Trafford,” said director Bruce Newell.

With a high school renovation project in the works, directors hope choosing Harris as Butler's interim replacement will help maintain continuity.

“(Butler) started a lot of great programs here, and I'm really optimistic in that we will continue down the same path that he has started us down,” said director Toni Ising.

Harris praised the district's administration team and said he's looking forward to getting started in his new position. Harris' contract was renewed for five years in February and he earns $119,927 annually, said business manager Brett Lago. Directors can vote year-to-year on any salary changes as part of the contract. Harris' pay did not change, Lago said.

“I'm really looking forward to it,” Harris said after his appointment. “I'm really going to miss Dr. Butler.”

Harris, 42, of Penn Township, joined the district in 2007 as the assistant principal for Level Green and Harrison Park elementary schools after working as the principal of St. Sebastian Catholic School in North Belle Vernon.

Staff writer Chris Foreman contributed. Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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