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Highlands to offer superintendent job to assistant, substitute Mawhinney |
Valley News Dispatch

Highlands to offer superintendent job to assistant, substitute Mawhinney

Brian C. Rittmeyer
Louis Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Highlands substitute Superintendent Monique Mawhinney at a school board meeting on Monday, Feb. 11. 2019. School board President Debbie Beale announced Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 that the board is negotiating a contract with Mawhinney to make her the district’s permanent superintendent, replacing Michael Bjalobok, who is retiring April 1.

The Highlands School District will not be conducting a search for a new superintendent and will be offering the job to its current substitute superintendent, Monique Mawhinney, school board President Debbie Beale announced Monday.

Mawhinney, who started as assistant superintendent in April 2018, has been serving as substitute superintendent in place of former Superintendent Michael Bjalobok, who notified the district in September that he would retire April 1.

Bjalobok confirmed that was still his plan when reached for comment Monday night. He did not offer any further comment.

Bjalobok started as superintendent at Highlands in March 2013. He has been on medical leave since July 2 and Mawhinney has been filling in for him since then.

Beale read a statement in which she said the school board has considered several options for replacing Bjalobok upon his retirement.

“The board is not willing to spend $15,000 or more in taxpayer dollars to conduct a search when we believe we have an excellent person who has managed this district in an effective, creative way since she joined us,” Beale said.

The board is negotiating a contract with Mawhinney and will consider it at its March 18 voting meeting, Beale said.

Mawhinney came to Highlands from the Hampton Township School District, where she had been director of pupil services since 2001. The district had not had an assistant superintendent since 2015, when Patrick Graczyk left to become superintendent at Allegheny Valley.

Beale said Mawhinney “stepped into the role of substitute superintendent at a very difficult time for the district. The district continues to face significant budget challenges and is dealing with the issues remaining following the changes in the administration at the highest level.

“We do not believe a lengthy search is warranted given the level of Dr. Mawhinney’s performance and the harm such delay would cause to the district,” Beale said.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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