At its Regular Meeting on Jan. 14, Mars Area School Board voted 8-1 to notify Dr. Wesley W. Shipley, Mars Area School District superintendent, that his contract will not be renewed at the end of the 2019-2020 School Year.
Board member Christine Valenta cast the dissenting vote.
“(The Board has) notified Dr. Shipley that his contract will not be renewed upon the expiration of his contract on June 30, 2020,” said John Kennedy, Board president. “The Board opted to exercise a one-time, one-year extension of his contract last June. It is now time for a new Board, with a mix of newly elected and senior members, to reset for the future.”
At the end of the 2018-2019 School Year, the Board, at that time, decided not to renew Dr. Shipley’s contract for a three-, four- or five-year term, as specified by the School Code, said Tom King, District Solicitor. Instead, the Board took advantage of recent amendment to the School Code that allowed for a one-time, one-year extension of a superintendent’s contract.
“The Board recognized the fact that there were five positions up for election and (it) was going to have new members,” said King. “This action indicates that the new Board intends to proceed in a different direction.”
The Board announced that it will be considering other candidates to fill the position of superintendent and that it has begun the process to identify, interview and retain the services of a superintendent search firm, which will be hired to conduct a broad, nationwide search for the next superintendent of Mars Area School District.
“Our goal is to name a successor superintendent before the end of the school year. In terms of the search process, the Board intends to keep the community and the staff updated of key milestones, including opportunities for providing input and sharing feedback,” said Rita Dorsch, Board Vice President. “We are going to try to navigate this transition as positively and as best as we can.”
“(The Board) fully expects that Dr. Shipley will continue to perform his duties through the end of his contract,” said King. “We look forward to him continuing to serve the District in that capacity through June 30.”
Dr. Shipley joined the District at the start of the 2015-2016 School Year. He came to Mars Area from Shaler Area School District, where he served for four years as school superintendent and two years as an assistant superintendent.
Also of note, Mars Area School Board authorized Dr. Elizabeth McMahon, Assistant Superintendent, to begin a search for an Interim Principal at Mars Area Primary Center, where she is currently serving as the Acting Principal, in addition to her duties as Assistant Superintendent.
Once the Board is able to replace her in her capacity as principal, Dr. McMahon will resume her full-time duties as Assistant Superintendent, said King. In any absence of the superintendent during the remainder of the school year, Dr. McMahon will fill in in that role.
The Board also announced its intention to initiate a search for candidates to fill the full-time position of Principal at Mars Area Primary Center, beginning with the 2020-2021 School Year.
For more information, call (724) 625-1581.
Board Statement (01.14.20)
At its Jan. 14 Regular Meeting, the Board of School Directors of the Mars Area School District, in accordance with the requirements of the Pennsylvania Public School Code, authorized the Board President to notify Dr. Wesley W. Shipley that the Board will not retain him as Superintendent upon the expiration of his contract on June 30, 2020, and will consider other candidates for the position of Superintendent of Schools. The Board will continue to work with Dr. Shipley through the end of his contract to improve all aspects of the Mars Area School District.
The Board also announced that it has begun the process to identify, interview and retain the services of a superintendent search firm, which will be hired to conduct a broad, nationwide search for the next Superintendent of the Mars Area School District.
Board of School Directors
Mars Area School District
Mr. John Kennedy, President
Mrs. Rita Dorsch, Vice President
Mr. Gordon Marburger, Treasurer
Mr. Anthony Depretis
Mrs. Dayle Ferguson
Mr. Kevin Hagen
Mrs. Megan Lenz
Mrs. Christine Valenta
Mrs. Sallie Wick