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The Progress Home >> Thursday, December 13, 2012 - DuBois hires Heckman as new superintendent

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DuBois hires Heckman as new superintendent
Thursday, December 13, 2012
By Josh Woods Staff Writer
DUBOIS - DuBois Area School Board has hired a new superintendent. The board at its meeting last night approved a 5-year contract for J. Mark Heckman to serve as the district's next superintendent, effective July 1, 2013. He will earn a salary of $135,000.
"The board and the administration are a great team to work with, and the teachers are really focused on the kids' needs," said Heckman. "Every decision that we make from beginning to end is a plus step for kids. It makes it an exciting place to work."
Heckman has served as DuBois Area School District's assistant superintendent since 2009. He's held the positions of elementary principal, assistant secondary principal and director of choral activities at Brookville Area School District, and taught K-12 music at Commodore Perry School District and elementary music at Pine Bush Central School District in New York. He is past district 3 president and region 2 chair of Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.
Heckman has an Advanced Studies degree and superintendent's letter of eligibility from Edinboro University and Master of Education degree in educational administration and principal certification from California University of Pennsylvania. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in music education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
In a memo provided to The Progress, Heckman outlined his district goals for 2013-14. His most important goal is to have frequent communication with the community through a superintendent's letter and blog and perceptual data surveys on the school website and e-mails to parents and district newsletters on Skylert, he said.
Other goals include a renewed focus on curriculum, transitioning to educator effectiveness tools, continuing fiscal responsibility, analyzing technology and focusing on facilities improvements as predicated by finances.
"The biggest goal to me is improving community relations," said Heckman. "I want to have an open dialogue with the community, so that everyone knows what's happening. I think that's most important, because we can't do anything without community support."
Current superintendent Timothy Deluccia plans to retire at the end of the school year.
In new business, the board approved DuBois Area High School's course selection guide for the 2013-14 school year, as submitted. DAHS Principal Roger Collins said the guide includes 10 class changes. The high school would offer 9th and 10th grade and 11th and 12th grade headlines and news, 10th grade AP civics and government, 10-12th grade engineering concepts, 9th and 10th grade astronomy, 12th grade honors biochemistry, 9th grade band and chorus, 9th grade band and tutoring, 9th grade chorus and tutoring, intro to music history and intro to art history.
Collins said the intro to music and art history classes would be offered as cyber programs through the district's Plato program. The engineering class would cost about $40,000 and is not currently budgeted for, he said. The amount mainly covers start up costs, though; only supplies would be need for the second year, he said.
"Probably half of the cost is for the computers themselves," said Collins. "And then we would need subscriptions, curriculum and a perpetual license to build the robots and general supplies. We would also need teacher training."
The MIS Department needs a top-of-the-line computer that costs about $1,000 in order to manage the software for the robotics/engineering class, Collins said. Staff is seeking grant funding for the course, he said. Once the class is established, staff would seek additional sections.
Vice President Scott Farrell asked Business Manager Sam Kirk Jr. if there's room in the budget to include the engineering course. Farrell said he supports the idea and thinks the robotics aspect is a great, hands on experience.
"Forty thousand is a drop in the bucket compared to a $4 million budget, and I'm sure when Roger submits his budget we're going to ask for level funding and try to move some other figures around from other places," said Kirk. "But $40,000 isn't a lot in the scheme of things.
During public comment, David Singer congratulated the board on its arrangement with the city to overhaul the Showers Field complex. Renovating the field is a good investment, he said.
Singer asked the board why contract negotiations haven't taken place with the teacher's union, reiterating he supports a 1-year contract and a wage freeze. He asked the board to be cognizant of the poor economy and people living on fixed incomes.
Russell said he's asked the teacher's union to meet the week of Jan. 7 for preliminary discussion. There are three people on the board's negotiation team, he said, and discussion with secretaries and custodians would take place next week. The committee would keep the board up-to-date on the negotiations at future executive sessions, he said. The board must start framing negotiations by Jan. 11.
Nancy Moore thanked the board for its opposition to a proposed disposal injection well at Monday's public hearing in Brady Township. Repine's comments at the hearing were well taken, Moore said.
Repine said the construction of a disposal well might affect property values and taxes in the Highland Street area. The district has two schools, Luthersburg Elementary and Highland Elementary within two miles of the proposed well, he said. Oklahoma Elementary is a little over three miles away from the proposed site, he said.
DuBois School Board's next meeting is Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. at the administrative building. A work session is scheduled for Jan. 17.
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