Mars Area moves into ‘transitional’ period

Kostewicz named interim principal at primary center

February 12, 2020 Cranberry Local News


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ADAMS TWP — The quest for new leadership in Mars Area School District is on.

Members of the school board approved Mars Area Centennial School Principal Adam Kostewicz as interim principal for Mars Area Primary Center at a meeting Feb. 4.

Kostewicz will be replacing assistant superintendent Elizabeth McMahon, who has been serving as interim principal for the primary center.

McMahon will return to her assistant superintendent duties full time in the wake of the board’s decision not to renew Superintendent Wesley Shipley’s contract. Shipley’s contract expires June 30. He was originally hired in April 2015 under a four-year contract.

McMahon was appointed by the board in January to lead the search for an interim principal. She told the board the interim job had been posted and received attention.

“We received two applications,” McMahon said.

When reviewing the needs of the district at this time, McMahon said bringing in a new person isn’t the best option.

“Someone coming in isn’t really going to help,” McMahon said. “Just with the whole transitional phase the district is going through now.”

McMahon said Kostewicz knows the students and how the district operates. He’ll be able to start in the position immediately.

“He’s invested,” McMahon said. “It’s a great working relationship.”

Several members of the board agreed.

“Great decision,” said Christine Valenta, board member.

Kostewicz, who was present at the meeting, will remain full-time principal of Mars Area Centennial School. He voiced his support of his new appointment.

“So excited,” Kostewicz said. “Thank you for the opportunity.”

Kostewicz’s appointment comes with a $5,000 stipend. The board still intends to hire a full-time primary center principal for the 2020-21 year. The assignment is good through June 30.

Board member Sallie Wick announced the superintendent search committee has met with Tom Templeton of Templeton Advantage — the headhunting firm hired by the board in January — to discuss a plan of action for finding a new superintendent.

“More to come on that in the near future,” Wick said. “That’s underway.”

The board also approved the 2020-21 calendar. Students’ first day will be Aug. 26. The school year is set to end June 3, 2021. One snow day is built into the schedule, and the district will be using flexible instruction days.

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