The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

December 11, 2009

Exiting school superintendent likes a challenge

MIFFLINBURG — After 10 years leading the Mifflinburg Area School District, Superintendent Barry Tomasetti said Thursday he chose to take the top position in the Kennett Consolidated School District for the excitement of a new challenge.

“The challenge of change is exciting to me,” Tomasetti said Thursday during an interview. “To work in a different environment, to lead a different team.”

Tomasetti announced Tuesday he will leave the Mifflinburg district Jan. 26 for Kennett, where his three sons already have been enrolled in classes.

Tomasetti said he has routinely been contacted — sometimes more than a half-dozen times in one year — by superintendent head-hunters. He even turned down one position in the past.

But the Kennett position, Tomasetti said, appealed to him because of the camaraderie of the school board and the community involvement with the school district.

The Chester County district, though 60 percent larger than Mifflinburg, reminded him of Mifflinburg nonetheless.

“This district has been blessed with board members who understand the importance of public education, who are open to new ideas and who have the courage to do what is right for children,” Tomasetti wrote in his letter of resignation to the school board.

The superintendent, however, takes issue with the implication that he would leave any position for salary alone.

Tomasetti earns $113,000 at Mifflinburg. He will receive an annual salary of $180,000 at Kennett.

“The money is relative. Certainly, I wouldn’t move for less money than I’m making now or to restrict my family’s lifestyle,” Tomasetti said. “What drives you to move is the challenge to change.”

During Tomasetti’s tenure at Mifflinburg, the district has seen continued improvement on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment standards-based tests.

Between 2003 and 2008, scores have risen from 56 percent to 83 percent in fifth-grade math proficiency and from 27 percent to 58 percent in math advanced placement. Eighth-graders have seen similar results, improving from 51 percent proficient and 19 percent advanced in 2003 to 83 percent proficient and 53 percent advanced in 2008. The district’s high school students consistently score about 95 percent in writing proficiency.

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