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Dr. Mark Gross Appointed as District’s Next Superintendent

Dr. Mark GrossMars Area Board of School Directors is excited to announce that Dr. Mark Gross will be joining Mars Area School District as the District’s next Superintendent of Schools. On May 19, the Board formally appointed Dr. Gross for a five-year contract, beginning July 1, 2020.

“After a comprehensive interview process and reflection upon community and staff feedback, the Board is excited to welcome Dr. Mark Gross to Mars Area School District,” said John L. Kennedy, Board president.

“From our first virtual introduction, there was something special about Dr. Gross that continued to grow and strengthen with each subsequent interaction. The more that we learned about his leadership style, diverse educational experiences and passion for student success, the more we became convinced that he is the very best choice to lead our School District into its bright future.”

Dr. Gross holds a doctorate of education in Administrative & Leadership Studies and a bachelor’s degree in Education of Exceptional, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania; and a master’s degree in School Administration from Western Maryland College. He currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education at Hempfield Area School District. 

Prior to joining Hempfield Area School District in 2013, he served as the K-12 District Curriculum Coordinator at Indiana Area School District; as Senior High School Principal in Somerset Area School District for 12 years; as Junior/Senior High School Principal at Shade-Central City and Berlin-Brothersvalley school districts; and as a Supervisor of Special Education at Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8. He also previously served as an Emotional Support and Learning Support Teacher at Lancaster City School District and as a Learning Support Teacher at York City School District. In addition, he is a member of the Westmoreland County Forum for Workplace Development Committee; he has served as a Principal Internship Supervisor at California University of Pennsylvania and as an Adjunct Faculty Member at St. Francis University and Wilkes University.

Upon joining Mars Area School District, Dr. Gross plans to embark upon on a comprehensive entry plan to immerse himself in the District and to develop a thoughtful, ambitious course for continued growth and improvement.

“I am prepared to work closely with the entire Mars Area community as we create a compelling future for the organization. I have had the opportunity to interact with the Board, with members of the leadership team, faculty and staff, and I see their passion around supporting all students,” said Gross. “I am ready to open the next chapter in my career and to lead Mars Area School District.”

Dr. Elizabeth McMahonIn addition to the appointment of Dr. Gross, the Board has approved an extension of the contract of Dr. Elizabeth McMahon in her position as Assistant Superintendent.

Dr. McMahon entered the position of Assistant Superintendent in 2016, after serving as Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education (2014-2016), and as Principal of Mars Area Primary Center (2005-2014). In addition to her duties as Assistant Superintendent, she has served as an Acting Principal at Mars Area Primary Center during the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years.

She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership; master’s degrees in Educational Administration, Special Education and Elementary Education; and a bachelor’s degree in Communications, all from Duquesne University. Additionally, Dr. McMahon holds a Pennsylvania Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility as well as Pennsylvania School Administration (K-12), Pennsylvania Instructional II — Mentally and/or Physically Handicapped, and Pennsylvania Instructional II — Elementary (K-8) certifications.

“Dr. McMahon believes that every moment with our students is an opportunity to make a positive difference. Her thorough, solutions-oriented approach is respected and appreciated,” said Kennedy. “The Board is pleased to publicly recognize and thank her for her dedication, tireless work ethic, and proven leadership with a new contract.”

“Mars is where my heart is, and I’m pleased to continue my career right here, working together with my talented colleagues in support of students and families,” said Dr. McMahon. “I am really looking forward to working with Dr. Gross; and, I am excited about what the future holds for Mars Area School District.”

The Board would like to thank all those who participated in the various stages of the Superintendent Search process, including administrators, teachers, staff members, parents and the Mars Area community. And, the Board would also like to express its appreciation to current superintendent, Dr. Wesley W. Shipley, for his continued efforts and dedication to Mars Area School District.      

The Mars Area community will have an opportunity to meet with Dr. Gross at a Superintendent Meet & Greet, to be held as soon as possible, when social distancing restrictions are relaxed and large gatherings once again become commonplace.

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