The search for a new superintendent is over.
At Monday’s school board meeting, officials unanimously voted to hire Dr. Tracy Vitale, effective Sept. 29. Vitale, who was assistant superintendent of human resources and pupil services for the last four years, was given a five-year-contract with a salary of $163,166 for the first year. She replaces Dr. Donald Tylinski, who spent eight years as superintendent
Although Tylinski’s official last day is Sept. 28, he used vacation time to leave the district in late August. Vitale was appointed acting superintendent last week.
A former assistant principal and principal at who joined the district in 2002, Vitale said she is excited to again work directly with students. In her former position, she dealt mostly with hiring teachers and staff development projects.
“I get to look for all the good things that are going on in the buildings,” she said. “I didn’t see students as much as I did when I was a principal, and I missed that.”
The 40-year-old Vitale lives in Adams Township and is the youngest and the first female superintendent in Seneca Valley history. She shrugged off the distinctions, saying she only wanted to be the best person for the job.
“This was about who is the most qualified candidate,” she said.
She added there would be difficult times ahead for the district, particularly in finance matters. After a cut in state education funding, Seneca Valley in May , and curtail a half-dozen district programs to address the the district faced in the next school year.
Already the district has begun budgeting for the 2012-13 school year. Vitale said her goal is to be as transparent as possible during that process. Open communications with the community will be a key of her leadership, she said. She also plans to continue progress in technology programs, a legacy from Tylinski, she said.
“I promise I won’t let you down,” she said after her promotion.
Vitale was one of three assistant superintendents in the district. Matthew McKinley is assistant superintendent of instruction for grades 7 through 12. Jeffrey Fuller is the assistant superintendent of instruction for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.
Linda Andreassi, the district’s director of communications, said there are no plans to replace Vitale as assistant superintendent of human resources. It will be up to Vitale if her former position remains as she builds her new administration, Andreassi said.
While several people applied to become superintendent, board member Eric Gordon said officials didn’t have to look beyond the district for good candidates. He added all three three assistant superintendents were qualified to lead the district.
“When you have something good going on like you do at Seneca Valley, you don’t really want to rock the boat,” he said.
In a prepared statement, School board President Robert Hill welcomed Vitale as superintendent.
“During the interview process, Dr. Vitale shared with the board her vision that we all believe will take Seneca Valley to places and achievements yet to be imagined,” he said. “The board is proud to appoint Dr. Vitale as the next superintendent of the Seneca Valley School District.”
A graduate of Duquesne University who earned a masters degree in education leadership from Carlow University and a doctorate of education from the University of Pittsburgh, Vitale said she would begin her administration by visiting all the district buildings.
Andreassi said there also would be a community meet-and-great where the public can meet Vitale. There will be another event to officially introduce Vitale to the staff as superintendent.