New principals hired at Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District

For the CDTAugust 13, 2013 

— Philipsburg-Osceola schools will be starting the year with a full complement of administrators.

Susan Harris, an educational consultant from the Central Intermediate Unit, has been hired to take the Osceola Mills Elementary position recently vacated by the retirement of Linda Smutz.

A former head teacher at OME, Harris was a P-O employee for 23 years. She will make $75,000, according to Superintendent Gregg Paladina, who said the decision was made at a special meeting last week.

“I think with Susan’s knowledge of the district, we’re lucky. We’ll have good things there,” said Paladina. He pointed to Harris’ experience in training teachers and administration as key factors in her favor.

Harris said Monday that she will pursue “a team approach” in her new position.

“I have many ideas and resources to share with the teachers and am anxious to work with them collaboratively on the new educator effectiveness model as well as aligning our curriculum to the Pennsylvania Common Core standards,” she said.

The principal position was not on the table for long between Smutz’s retirement and Harris’ appointment, but another job had an even shorter advertisement. The board also hired an assistant principal for the about-to-open P-O Middle School.

The former North Lincoln Hill Elementary is undergoing a $20 million renovation and construction project to replace the now closed junior high. When originally proposed, the plan was to have the middle school staffed by North Lincoln Hill Principal Linda Kline-Shaffer and junior high Principal Robin Stewart. However, the administrative shake-ups that started when the board opted to not renew the contract of former superintendent Stephen Benson in September 2012 continued with the resignation of high school principal Jeffrey Hartmann at the end of the school year. That moved Stewart to the high school position and left Kline-Shaffer alone at the new middle school.

“We were going to have two guidance counselors there, and they would have been stuck doing discipline all the time,” Paladina said. That meant that, earlier in the week, the administration advertised for a position the board filled days later by hiring Kelly Reese as an assistant middle school principal. Reese was a fifth-grade teacher at North Lincoln Hill. Paladina said her new salary will be $55,500.

“I know she’ll do a good job,” he said.

Both new administrators will start work Aug. 19.

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