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Mt. Pleasant school board names director

| Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2003

Mt. Pleasant Area School District will soon welcome a new face to the school board and say goodbye to a longtime teacher and administrator.

The board voted Monday to appoint Mt. Pleasant businessman David Brooks to fill a board vacancy created by the resignation in September of Frank Gnibus. Brooks was chosen from among six candidates who applied for the position.

Others nominated were John Hilderbrand II and Antoinette Chovanec, who each received a single vote compared to six for Brooks.

The board last night also accepted the retirement request of Patricia Spisso, who has been employed by the district for more than four decades. Spisso began her tenure as a teacher, but has served as principal at Donegal and Ramsay elementary schools since 1996.

"I've really enjoyed my years with the district, both as a teacher and as an administrator," Spisso said last night. "I love education, and I'll miss the students and the friendships I've made with the staff."

Brooks, 47, is a resident of Mt. Pleasant Township and part owner and vice president of Brooks Funeral Home Inc., of Mt. Pleasant, Connellsville and Melcroft. He is a graduate of Bethany College in West Virginia and the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. He has been a licensed funeral director since 1980.

He is married to the former Jan Czekaj, and the couple has three children, two in college and one a sophomore at Mt. Pleasant Area High School.

Brooks is a member of the Laurel Highlands Chamber of Commerce, the Mt. Pleasant Business District Authority and the Westmoreland Health System Foundation Board of Directors. He also has been active as a coach for several youth athletic leagues.

Brooks will be sworn in during the board's annual reorganization meeting Dec. 3.

Director Donald Hudec nominated Brooks, and, after the vote, commented, "He's going to be an asset to the board. He's a very community-minded individual, and anyone who is as involved as he is, I know will do a good job."

In other business, the board heard a complaint from district resident James Scekeres Jr., who was upset that the fabric top on his daughter's 2003 Jeep Wrangler had been cut with a sharp object during "broad daylight" while parked in a high school parking lot. Tennis shoes and 16 compact discs were taken from the vehicle, he said.

Scekeres wanted to know why cameras installed outside the school did not catch the perpetrator on tape and why school officials were unaware that someone was carrying around the sharp object used to cut the vehicle's top.

"You're posing a situation that's impossible to monitor," said board President Thomas Miscik, adding that district officials cannot conduct searches without probable cause. District officials also said the school's new camera system is not yet fully operational.

Scekeres, who is employed in the state correctional system, also questioned the effectiveness of school security. He claimed that the day after the theft he was able to drive around the school, change cars, drive around again and then stand in the parking lot for almost three hours, and was never approached by school security.

Superintendent Dr. Donald Tylinski said district officials are still investigating the incident.

"If we catch them, we'll deal with them, and we'll do what we can to catch them," Miscik said.

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