MERCERSBURG, Pa. —The Tuscarora School Board officially approved a new superintendent of schools at its meeting Monday night.
Charles Prijatelj, director of curriculum and instruction at West Middlesex (Pa.) Area School District, will replace Rebecca Erb, who is retiring after about five years as superintendent of the Tuscarora School District.
The board approved a three-year contract for Prijatelj (pronounced pray-uh-tell) at a starting salary of $102,500. The wording in the deal approved by the board calls for pay increases of 2 percent each year of the contract.
He officially begins work March 15.
“We think (Prijatelj) brings a good knowledge of instruction and is the best fit for us,” said Cliff Smith, president of the Tuscarora School Board.
Smith said Monday afternoon that Prijatelj was selected following a process that started in September and came down to several rounds of interviews, including a final segment in front of the public at James Buchanan High School.
“It’s a long process designed to bring forward the best person for the district,” Smith said.
Prijatelj is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pittsburgh. He studied music and music education at Duquesne University and Youngstown State University, and is a former elementary instrumental music instructor.
About 2,450 students are enrolled in the Tuscarora School District, which serves the Borough of Mercersburg and surrounding townships in Franklin County, Pa., Smith said.
Smith said Prijatelj’s top priority is to keep positive momentum going in the district.
“We set a goal earlier this year to be a top-100 school district by 2020,” Smith said. “We expect him to help us get to that goal of being a top-100 district in the commonwealth.”
Erb will stay in the post until Prijatelj begins in two months. Smith said Erb has done a fantastic job in the position.
“She was the right person at the right time for us,” Smith said.
“When we hired her, a lot of things were not going right in the district,” he said.
“With her skills of doing more with less and determining the needs and wants of everyone, not only did we increase our academic results during her tenure, but she was always keeping her focus on the students — and that’s why we’re all here,” Smith said.
“The district started to flourish under her leadership and I can’t be thankful enough for her,” Smith said.
The other finalist for the position was Chris Bigger, director of curriculum, instruction, technology and high schools for Chambersburg (Pa.) Area School District.