Penns Valley

Four hopefuls vie for Penns Valley Area School Board seat

The Penns Valley Area School District board of directors is hoping to have a new member next week.

On Wednesday night, the board sat down with four Penns Valley residents during an interview process to fill the void on the board after Jay Martin resigned from his position last month.

Board President Chris Houser said each candidate had to fill out an application, submit a resume and answer 11 questions before the board deliberated.

“Each individual is unique,” Houser said. “We’re looking for someone qualified with a desire to serve. Right now, we’re looking at a really good group of applicants.”

The board hopes to appoint someone on Wednesday night.

That person’s term will run until next fall, and he or she is required to run in primary elections next spring, Houser said.

The candidates are Mike Dawson, Daniel Decker, Kerri Kubalak and Emily Martell.

• Dawson, of Penns Valley Dental Associates in Spring Mills, is an Aaronsburg resident who has been with the practice since 1998.



As the owner, he supervises 10 employees and manages a budget more than $1 million, among other responsibilities, Dawson said.

According to his resume, Dawson also served as a Navy lieutenant. He’s a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine.

“As a graduate of Penns Valley Area High School, a father of graduates and children currently enrolled in the district, and a small business owner in the area, I’m very interested and vested in Penns Valley Area School District,” Dawson said. “I am confident that I can utilize my skills in a way that will be beneficial to the district. I’m interested in becoming a board member and serving my community.”

• Decker, of Centre Hall, has been a senior systems analyst at Supelco since 1997, and has owned

American Computer Technology Solutions

since 2004. He owned Computer Quorum of America in Spring Mills, a computer repair company, from 1988 to 2000.



His experience also includes working as a computer systems specialist and continuing educational instructor at the Centre County Vocational Technical School — now Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science & Technology — and was a substitute teacher in the Bellefonte and Penns Valley area school districts.

“As a lifelong Penns Valley resident, and a graduate of (Penn State) with a degree in secondary education, I believe my talents would be beneficial to implementing good board policy for the children,” Decker said.

He also previously participated in the strategic planning committee for the district, serving on the workgroup for technology.

• Kubalak works for

Cen-Clear Child Services,

working with the families of children enrolled in state or federally funded

Head Start Programs

.



She was also a substitute teacher at the district from 2010 to 2012, and was a staff assistant in the mid-1990s at Penn State’s department of astronomy and astrophysics.

According to her application, Kubalak served on a number of boards within the district, including booster clubs and the Penns Valley Elementary Parent-Teacher Association.

Kubalak attended South Hills School of Business and Technology and Penn State.

She lives with her husband and fourth children in Spring Mills. Her children are students in the district.

• Martell, of Centre Hall, is the financial officer for Penn State’s Defense Related Research Unit and the College of Education, where she manages an operating budget, facilities and renovations, and information technology strategic planning.



After living in Massachusetts for eight years, she and her family moved back to Penns Valley, where they have settled for nine years and are involved in community events and organizations.

“As a graduate of Penns Valley Area High School, a resident of Penns Valley and parent of two children currently enrolled in the district, I am very interested in serving on the school board,” she said. “I feel my professional experience and my involvement within the Penns Valley community would allow me to serve the school board well.”

Martell is a 1997 graduate of Penn State.

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