West Jefferson Hills School District appoints 2 new principals | TribLIVE.com
South Hills

West Jefferson Hills School District appoints 2 new principals

1600704_web1_shr-wjhprincipals-090519-1-
Stephanie Hacke | For the Tribune-Review
Melissa McCauley is the new vice principal of Pleasant Hills Middle School, and Adam Zunic is the new principal of Gill Hall Elementary.

Two newly appointed principals in the West Jefferson Hills School District have one thing in common, leaders say: They love kids.

School board members on Aug. 27 officially hired longtime Pleasant Hills Middle School educator Adam Zunic as the principal of Gill Hall Elementary, at a salary of $100,000.

Zunic, 36, who has been vice principal of Pleasant Hills Middle School for the past five years, announced his new position at Gill Hall on Aug. 22. It became effective Aug. 26, the first day of school.

Board members also approved the hiring of Melissa McCauley, 35, an eight-year Pleasant Hills Middle School family and consumer science teacher, as the middle school’s vice principal. She will earn $80,000, with a start date to be determined.

“I couldn’t be happier for these two individuals,” Superintendent Michael Ghilani said. “It really completes our administrative team, K-12.”

Board members also approved the resignation of Tina Mayer as Gill Hall principal, effective Aug. 31. Mayer’s resignation letter indicated she had entered into a confidential settlement with the district, and district leaders haven’t commented on the matter.

Mayer has not responded to requests for comment.

At the board meeting, there was nothing but praise for the two new principals.

Pleasant Hills Middle School Principal Dan Como said he’s enjoyed working alongside Zunic for the past several years.

“He’s going to be great for those kids,” said Como, who described Zunic as “a big teddy bear.”

Ghilani said Zunic “dove right in” on the first day with high fives for every kid as they entered the school.

“I’m beyond humbled,” Zunic said following the meeting. “There’s a fine tradition of excellence that’s established here by the district. I just want to continue to move that forward.”

Zunic, who has three master’s degrees and is working on a doctorate in education, reiterated his excitement for the opportunity to help “shape and mold” the district’s youngest learners “into great people (and) young productive citizens.”

His first goal at Gill Hall is to get through building renovations while continuing to meet the needs of every student.

He said he wants to bring in new ideas, using technology, to educate students. The district is in the process of interviewing for a kindergarten-through-second-grade technology teacher who will work at Gill Hall and McClellan, Zunic said.

A father of four children who are 7 and younger, Zunic said he also wants to focus on social and emotional learning.

“Our kids are walking into those doors from every walk of life, different backgrounds, different experiences, different frames of reference,” he said. “But while they’re in our building, we get to be their stability, their rock, their heroes. What better way to spend your day? What better calling in life than to be able to do that?”

At Pleasant Hills Middle School, McCauley has stood out as a “teacher leader,” Como said.

“Melissa’s someone we’ve had our eye on for the great things she’s been doing. I think she brings a ray of sunshine to the district. She’s always positive. She’s innovative. She’s creative,” Ghilani said.

McCauley, who has a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in curriculum, graduated in June from Drexel University with a doctorate in leadership and management.

As a vice principal, her goal is to make a bigger impact and help people on a larger scale.

“I have a desire to help — help kids, help people,” she said. “Now I know another level that I can support. I’m here to support my teachers. I’m here to make the school the best place it can possibly be.”

McCauley, who lives in the district and sends her children to West Jefferson Hills schools, said she believes in the district and where it’s headed.

“We’re going great places, and I can’t wait,” she said.

As a teacher, she took on leadership roles, from organizing the GOLD — Girls Only Leadership Development night — to advising student council and the interact club.

“We’re a fantastic middle school, and I want to be a part of where we’re going and what we’re doing,” she said. “I can’t wait to take us to the next level.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.