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Superintendent Search

UPDATE (posted 03.24.20)

Mars Area School Board has moved past the application period of Mars Area School District's search for its next superintendent. The Board is in the midst of reviewing the candidates who expressed an interest in the position. With a strong candidate pool, the Board is actively engaged in the next phase of the process.

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the Board is exploring various methods for conducting the interviews that respect social distancing, while providing both the Board and candidates with the ability to truly connect with each other during the interview sessions. These sessions will take place in early to mid-April. Given these extremely uncertain times — and the status of this crisis evolving every day — the Board recognizes that its timeline may need to be flexible and adjusted as circumstances dictate.

The Board would like to thank everyone who participated in the Focus Group Discussions (March 10) and the Online Survey (Feb. 17-March 2). The information gathered will most definitely be useful as the Board interviews candidates and in future planning efforts for Mars Area School District. Additional information on those efforts will be provided in future updates.


Focus Group Discussions

Members of Mars Area School District's faculty and staff as well as members of the Mars Area School District community were invited to participate in Superintendent Search Focus Group Discussions on March 10.  

The District’s professional search consultant, Tom Templeton of Templeton Advantage LLC, facilitated group conversations that explored the District’s strengths and challenges; reviewed key issues that need to be addressed; and determined the critical skills that will be needed in the next superintendent. Templeton has conducted numerous focus group sessions with educational and community organizations across Pennsylvania.


Online Survey

Mars Area School District conducted an online Superintendent Search Survey (Feb. 17-March 2) to further clarify the leadership qualities needed in the District's next superintendent.

All information from the survey was reviewed by Mars Area School Board members. The goal of the Board is to align the results of the survey with the various stages of the search process, including the ultimate selection of the next superintendent.


Additional Information/Announcements
 
Announcements published regarding the Superintendent Search process as well as additional information will be posted below: 

As a component of Mars Area School District’s search for its next superintendent, the District is seeking participation in a survey, available online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/RJ3V5CH.

All members of the Mars Area community, including parents, students, teachers/staff members, residents, business owners, etc., are encouraged to complete the survey. Mars Area School Board will review all information from the survey, which will be used to further clarify the leadership qualities needed in the District’s next superintendent. Responses will be accepted through Monday, March 2.

Anyone who would like to submit a hard copy of their responses may mail them to Tom Templeton; TEMPLETON Advantage; 58 Hummingbird Lane; Newport, Pa. 17074.

For more information, visit www.marsk12.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=1683665&type=d&pREC_ID=1838260.  

 

All members of the Mars Area School District community are invited to participate in a Superintendent Search Focus Group Discussion from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, at Mars Area High School LGI Room. 

The District’s professional search consultant, Tom Templeton of Templeton Advantage LLC, will facilitate a group conversation that will explore the District’s strengths and challenges; review key issues that need to be addressed; and determine the critical skills that will be needed in the next superintendent. Templeton has conducted numerous focus group sessions with educational and community organizations across Pennsylvania.

The members of Mars Area School Board will not be in attendance at the session; however, Templeton will meet with Board members immediately following the program to report the results. 

In addition to the community event, Templeton will lead similar focus group discussions with District administrators, faculty and support staff members. For more information, visit www.marsk12.org.

Mars Area School Board voted 5-2 in favor of approving Templeton Advantage to assist Mars Area School District in its search for a new superintendent at a cost not to exceed $16,900.

Board members Kevin Hagen and Christine Valenta cast the dissenting votes. Board members Anthony Depretis and Megan Lenz were absent.

In the past, Templeton Advantage (Newport, Pa.), run by founder and project manager Tom Templeton, has worked with Butler Area, Fox Chapel, Grove City and State College Area, among other school districts and intermediate units, to identify and interview candidates for superintendent and other leadership positions.

“It’s going to be a great thing having Mr. Templeton on board to do this search,” said John Kennedy, Board president. “This Board is going to do a wonderful job finding our next leader.”

Earlier this month, the Board notified 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 and that other candidates would be considered to fill the position.

The Board also announced that it would retain the services of a superintendent search firm to conduct a broad, nationwide search for the next superintendent of Mars Area School District.

For more information, call (724) 625-1581.

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.

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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.