has a new athletic director at the helm.
In a 5-1 vote, school board members on Monday approved hiring Wexford resident Heather Lewis as the new AD at a salary of $85,000 per year.
School board vice-president Eric Gordon voted “no” on the hiring. Board members Kelly Kopera and Rev. Reid Moon and school board president Robert Hill were absent from the meeting.
A former head field hockey coach and associate athletics director at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Lewis replaces former athletic director Greg Caprara. School officials in June when it expired that month. He had been with the district since 2004.
Lewis, who grew up in Pittsburgh, will be Seneca Valley’s first female athletic director. Superintendent Dr. Tracy Vitale said she believes Lewis would be only the second woman athletic director currently in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League.
“We see her as an ambassador for athletics,” Vitale said. “We like her sports background.”
Vitale said 38 people applied for and were interviewed for the position. Lewis was one of two final candidates officials considered Monday.
She begins work with the district Tuesday. Wayne Roccia, a former sixth-grade teacher at with experience coaching track, cross-country and football, had served since late June as Seneca Valley’s interim athletic director. He was paid a rate of $250 per day.
Citing restrictions on speaking on personnel matters, Gordon declined to comment on Lewis’ hiring.
A 1987 graduate of the University of Maryland with a bachelor of science in Zoology, Lewis also received a master of science in kinesiology/sports psychology from the university.
According to the district, Lewis has previous experience as the chief operating officer for a U.S. Olympic committee national governing body and supported the women’s national team qualifications for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
After joining Bucknell University in 1992, Lewis worked at the school as head field hockey coach, head women’s lacrosse coach, associate athletic director and assistant athletic director.
She also spent time as an official for the National Collegiate Athletic Association and president of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.
New JROTC Instructor
Lewis wasn’t the only new hire Monday.
Officials also approved the appointment of Angelo Lettiere III as assistant instructor of Seneca Valley’s Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. He replaces Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Massullo, who moved to North Carolina in June.
A Finleyville native, Lettiere had served as a senior military science instructor for the University of Pittsburgh ROTC Program. He also instructed at the U.S. Army Ranger School in Florida, according to the district.
In addition to his Army training, Lettiere has received more than 25 military awards and honors, including an Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, district officials said.
His salary is undetermined at this time. Once set, it will be split between Seneca Valley and the U.S. Army.
Parents Petition for Return of Bus Driver
In other district business, a group of parents pleaded with school officials during the meeting’s public comment portion to return a bus driver to his Seneca Valley route.
Employed by AJ Meyers and Sons, Inc.—the company Seneca Valley contracts its bus service with—the driver was transferred to a new route in the Mars school district in April after complaint by a Seneca Valley parent, the speakers said.
The parents presented the board with a petition signed by 46 families in support of the driver being returned to his route, which he drove for seven years. Several parents said their children were devastated the driver was no longer taking them to school.
Officials said the decision to transfer the driver was made by AJ Meyers and Sons.
Vitale said the district could not comment publicly on personnel matters. Parents at the meeting said the driver was transferred from Seneca Valley after a disagreement with a teen on an activity bus, but did not elaborate on the details.
A representative for AJ Meyers and Son could not be reached Monday night.