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Former principal named as United superintendent

| Saturday, April 28, 2012, 12:59 a.m.

ARMAGH -- Good news came from all directions this month for Dr. David Blozowich of Latrobe.

At its Tuesday meeting, United School Board unanimously named him as the district's next superintendent, effective Oct. 12. It's a career move that will take him just a few miles away from his current post, as principal of Laurel Valley Middle/High School.

In a more personal development, Blozowich revealed that he and his wife, Debbie, learned last Friday they soon will become the adoptive parents of a 16-month-old girl from China, their first child. They're planning to name her Autumn, he said.

"It's taken six years for this to happen," Blozowich said of the adoption process. "We got the good news on our 16th wedding anniversary. It all fell together all at once."

As with his new role of father, Blozowich noted he's been preparing for some time to take on the duties of superintendent. He obtained his superintendent's letter of eligibility from Penn State in 1996, but he noted he's enjoyed serving as a secondary principal: "I get real attached to the high school seniors."

A 1980 graduate of Hempfield Area High School, Blozowich has served as principal at Laurel Valley for the past two years. After initially teaching middle school science for six years at the Oxford Area School District in Chester County, he served as an assistant high school principal in the Curwensville Area School District, Clearfield County, and then returned to eastern Pennsylvania to head middle schools in the Southeast Delco, Daniel Boone Area and Owen J. Roberts school districts.

He said he is honored to take on the role of superintendent at United, noting he was attracted to the district by the strength of its early elementary education program and the good relations among its staff and parents. "It feels like a family," he said.

He also praised the district for having achieved adequate yearly progress six years in a row at both its elementary and secondary school buildings. AYP academic testing standards are set by Pennsylvania in compliance with federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

"I am looking forward to working together with the students, parents, staff, school board and community to ensure all of our students will have the essential skills needed for living in the 21st century," he said.

In his new post, Blozowich was granted a four-year contract with a salary of $102,580. He will succeed Dr. Kathy Myers Wunder, who is retiring as United superintendent Sept. 11. She will continue as acting superintendent until Blozowich takes over.

School board President Robert Dill said Blozowich "rose to the top" from the pool of 14 applicants during each of three interview rounds for the superintendent post.

Other personnel moves

In another administrative transition, United Tuesday accepted the resignation of Aaron Steinly, who had served as assistant high school principal for about four years. Dill said Steinly is leaving for the post of ninth-grade principal at the much larger Hempfield Area School District.

Dill said declining enrollment had prompted the district to consider reducing the assistant principal position to part-time status. He said the board had envisioned combining it with another part-time slot that has yet to be filled: athletic director.

But, the board agreed when an existing United administrator -- Bob Jones, director of special services -- instead offered to take on the additional duties of assistant principal. The move boosts Jones' salary to $80,000, but Dill said it ultimately will save the district about $90,000 in personnel costs.

Jones noted he holds certificates needed to serve either as an elementary or secondary principal. He has served in his current role, including oversight of special education programs, for five years and previously was a guidance counselor for 14 years.

The school board also hired Lora L. Stager, who has teaching experience in North Carolina, as a high school art teacher at a salary of $36,664.66. Her pay reflects the fact that the position is rated at 61 percent of full-time status, again due to declining enrollment. She replaces Stephen Izzo, who resigned to take a position elsewhere.

Todd Surloff, who was furloughed from a guidance position, was recalled to fill a gifted education position that is now full-time. Previously, the gifted teaching slot had been combined with that of Classrooms for the Future coach. But Dill noted state funding for the latter program, which emphasized integration of computer technology in the classroom, has been eliminated this school year.

The school board transferred Steve Little to the position of full-time custodian, adjusting his salary to $30,354, and agreed to eliminate a four-hour, part-time custodial position.

Instructors Christopher Wagner and Valerie Gapshes were placed on the master's pay scale, while John Dunn was placed on the master's plus 45 pay scale.

Resignations were accepted from nursery school aide Amy Ponchione and from Josephine Ross, in her supplemental role as senior class advisor.

The board named Ellen Plowman as the new senior class/senior trip advisor.

Supplemental contracts awarded

Numerous other supplemental positions were approved for 2009-10, most of them retaining previous advisors or coaches: Lance Holupka, assistant football coach; Cullen Stokes, assistant varsity football coach; John Dunn, head junior high football coach; Richard Szelong, junior high assistant football coach; Tom Whitcomb, boys'/girls' cross country coach; Tim Ault, assistant junior high girls' basketball coach; William Clevenger, seventh-grade girls' basketball coach; Deneen Ault, varsity volleyball coach; Brittany Miller, assistant varsity volleyball coach; Nathan Bevard, head co-ed golf coach; Mary Miller and Jackie Allison, co-varsity/JV head cheerleading coaches; Jackie Allison, junior high cheerleading coach; Joan Moses, JV girls' soccer coach; Leo Moses Sr., JV boys' soccer coach;

William Clevenger, head boys' varsity basketball coach; Tyler Stokes, assistant boys' varsity basketball coach; John Dunn, head junior high boys' basketball coach; Chris Matava, assistant junior high boys' basketball coach; Kurt McGinnis, seventh-grade boys' basketball coach; Tim Ault, head varsity girls' coach; Ken McGinnis, assistant JV girls' basketball coach; Mike Wilt, head varsity wrestling coach; Sam Buzzinotti, assistant varsity wrestling coach; Keith Lee Manning, head junior high wrestling coach; William Strong, assistant junior high wrestling coach;

William Lichtenfels, head boys' track coach; Robert Penrose, assistant boys' track coach; Chris Matava, head girls' track coach; Kelly Duplin, junior high girls' track coach; Thomas Whitcomb, junior high boys' track coach; Deneen Ault, junior high girls' volleyball coach; Brittany Miller, junior high girls' assistant volleyball coach; Greg Mytrysak, head baseball coach; William Huss, assistant varsity baseball coach; Susan Mrosky, head softball coach; Richard Troyan, assistant softball coach; Jerry Matava, Greg Mytrysak, Becky McLaughlin and Robert Penrose, game managers; Cullen Stokes, weight room supervisor;

Rick Auvil, band director; Mary Ann Walters, assistant band director; Keri Miller, majorette advisor; Melissa Fisher, color guard advisor; Maria Razayeski, yearbook advisor; Cristen Black, summer agriculture program advisor; Mike Wilt, summer driver education; John Oram, junior class prom advisor; Molly Flanagan, senior high student council advisor; Michelle Dunn, drama/musical director; Rick Auvil, drama/musical instrumental director; Acey Gongaware, drama/musical vocal music director; Rick Auvil, drama director/first semester play; Michelle Dunn, technical assistant/first semester play; Rick Auvil, director/junior high variety show; Michelle Dunn, technical assistant/junior high variety show;

Michael Lee, computer competition advisor; Robert Penrose, Junior Academy of Science advisor; Elayne Busovicki, Quiz Bowl advisor; Jerry Matava and Chris Matava, social studies department heads; Rick Szelong and Greg Mytrysak, communications department heads; Darlene Sexton and Susan Garaventa, math department heads; Thomas Whitcomb and Ron Ofman, science department heads; Devon Brendle, business/technical team leader; Susan Mrosky, special teams leader (elementary); Rick Auvil, fine arts team leader (high school); Rita Stahura, special education K-12 department head; Becky McLaughlin, health/PE department head;

Ron Ofman, Alexandria Marguccio, Robert Penrose, Brian Manges and Rick Auvil, technology integration specialists; James Cawley, graduation project coordinator; Barbara Hudnall, media coordinator; Amy Shellhammer, media production coordinator; Barb Turner, community outreach coordinator; Alexandria Marguccio, summer librarian; Debbie Stinson, summer librarian aide; Rich Soltesz, Web site developer.

Wunder reported that new band uniforms won't arrive in time for use during the coming football season but should be on hand for students who represent United at district or regional band events.

She said district officials are taking part in webinars to remain up to date on information regarding the H1N1 flu virus. To help protect United staff and students, she said the district will step up cleaning of desks this fall and will be closely monitoring any reports of flu outbreaks.

The school board appointed members Dorothy Muchesko and Norma Carpenter as its voting delegates to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association Legislative Policy Council in 2009-10. PSBA will be recognizing Muchesko for 12 years of service on the United board.

The district approved an agreement with Mount Aloysius College, which will send a business student to serve as an intern with Director of Finance Karl Olschesky in 2009-10.

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