Barker named principal at Linton Middle School, other administrative changes made |
Penn Hills

Barker named principal at Linton Middle School, other administrative changes made

Michael DiVittorio
Michael DiVittorio | Tribune-Review
New Linton Middle School Principal Sandra Barker.
Michael DiVittorio | Tribune-Review
Linton Middle School at 250 Aster St. in Penn Hills.

Linton Middle School in Penn Hills has a new principal.

The school board unanimously voted at a special meeting July 15 to have Sandra Barker lead the fifth through eighth-grade school starting next school year.

“It’s a better fit,” board President Erin Vecchio said. “We have too many issues going on, and she’s firmer on discipline.”

Board member Yusef Thompson Sr. said Barker worked with his children, and will do great things at Linton.

Barker, 55, of Avonmore in Westmoreland County will formally enter her 22nd year with the district when classes resume Aug. 25.

She served as an associate principal at the high school for the past four years and two years as an associate elementary principal prior to that.

Barker was also the principal of the former Penn Hebron Elementary in Penn Hills.

That school, along with Forbes and Washington elementaries, closed years ago and were replaced by the consolidated Penn Hills Elementary.

Her middle school salary is about $107,600.

“I’m excited to come (to Linton), and I’m very honored that they chose me to take it over,” Barker said. “It’s the relationship I build with the families, the kids (and) the people I work with (that keep me in the district). I’m just going to continue building those relationships and do what’s best for students.”

Barker graduated from Norwin High School in 1983. She earned a bachelor’s in mathematics education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1995, and later a master’s in education and principal’s certificate from California University of Pennsylvania.

More changes coming

The hire was one of several administrative changes made to help increase academic performance and student discipline at Linton.

The moves were also part of the financial recovery plan crafted by a special advisory committee and Dan Matsook, the district’s state-appointed recovery officer.

“Based upon the skill set of all our administrators, we felt that we have the right people on the right seats of the bus now,” Matsook said.

The plan, which is available for review on the district’s website, mentioned the need “to change the culture at Linton Middle School” and “both the middle school and high school reflect concerns about inconsistent accountability and enforcement of policies by both the professional staff and security.”

Former Linton Principal Katie Friend will now be an elementary associate principal.

Kristin Brown and Cyrene Bey remain elementary principal and associate principal, respectively.

Former elementary associate principal Darci Gatti will move to Linton, and Linton associate principal Kelly Shiring will move to the high school.

Eric Kostic and Patrick Gavin remain high school principal and associate principal, respectively.

Brian Brown retired as high school associate principal the end of last school year.

“We feel we have a cohesive team in each building that will work well with each other,” Matsook said. “Linton presents some challenges that aren’t unique to middle schools. That’s the most challenging age group when it comes to schooling and education. They’ve had a history of not everyone being on the same page. There’s issues there academically we have to clean up, which is true for all of our buildings.”

Vecchio said the board approves hiring and firing staffers, but moves within the district are at the digression of the administration and not up for a board vote.

“We have a tremendous amount of talent and (were) not sure that everybody was appropriately placed,” Superintendent Nancy Hines said. “Teacher positions have changed, other employee positions have changed. We recognize that the talent is here internally.”

The personnel changes are expected to be updated on the website,, later this month.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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