Philipsburg-Osceola School District loses public relations officer Cipriano

Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District has another key position to fill.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Dena Cipriano resigned as the district’s public relations officer. She moves to Lock Haven University to work with marketing and communications for both the main and Clearfield campuses.

Cipriano’s position was not limited to press releases and newsletters. She was also in charge of the district’s grant writing and compliance. Most notably, she was instrumental in securing the Keystones to Opportunity grant in April, a five-year funding stream geared to improve literacy. The largest competitive grant ever received by P-O, it included $654,514 in the first year alone.

Board member Elizabeth Whitehead said losing Cipriano was a “huge loss” and the position would have to be addressed quickly to maintain the timeline of state requirements to keep the grant.

“We cannot lose this money. That would be detrimental to the district,” she said. “I’m saddened you (Dena) are going. You are so knowledgeable.”

Cipriano’s job description and the funding that paid for it was just shuffled in June when the district filled some roles key to the grant’s performance which could be paid from the grant funding. Her job included the role of literacy grant coordinator and part of her $47,000 salary was paid by the grant.

The district is already beginning the search for a new superintendent after the board voted in September to not renew Stephen Benson’s contract, which expires in June. The board itself swore in its newest members, Susan McGee and Nancy Lamb, at Tuesday’s meeting, replacing previous board members who resigned in protest of the Benson vote.