New Castle News

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May 31, 2012

New Castle hires assistant principal

NEW CASTLE — Brian Popovich is the new assistant principal at the city’s George Washington Intermediate Elementary School.

Popovich will be paid a base salary of $87,512 for his work at Washington, which houses students in grades four, five and six.

The vote was 9-0.

Popovich, who has taught sixth-grade math in the district for the past 17 years, will be assisting principal Joseph Anderson, who was hired Feb. 15. Anderson had been assistant principal for the past four years. He replaces Mark Elisco, who will retire at the end of the school year.

At Tuesday’s meeting, which Popovich attended with his family, he said, “I’m excited and ready for the challenge.”

A New Castle resident, he is a graduate of the city’s high school. He noted his son, Caden, will be a seventh-grader in the district.

The board also restructured the administrative position of supervisor of special programs, held by John Mozzocio.

The post went from a 195-day job to a 12-month position, with a salary set at $98,000.

The vote was 5-4, with Dr. Marilyn Berkely, David DiGiammarino, Anna Pascarella and Barbara Razzano opposed.

As director of special programs, Mozzocio deals with 737 students in special education and gifted placement programs from kindergarten through grade 12.

“We begin with students in early intervention programs,” he explained after the meeting. His work includes developing individual education programs for special needs students, which involves working with 40 teachers, 50 paraprofessionals and two school psychologists.

Mozzocio also “outsources” students whose needs can’t be met by the district by placing them in Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV programs or in private schools that deal with severe disabilities.

He also must develop classroom scheduling for each student and address special transportation needs. Some, Mozzocio said, can’t ride a regular school bus and need special accommodations, such as for wheelchairs. “Or sometimes it is just not safe for them to ride a regular school bus.”

Mozzocio said the 12-month designation makes sense because some students are in programs that include extended school years through the summer. He said he arranges transportation to Zelienople, Slippery Rock University and Pittsburgh.

“Last year, through the summer, we got 60 new students who had individual education programs transferred into the district,” he said.

“It takes time to sort out their papers, meet their parents, determine their situation and determine placements.”

Also Tuesday, the board:

•Accepted the resignation of high school choral instructor Amber Myers, who will leave June 8 for personal reasons.

•Expelled for the remainder of the school year a student who was found to be in possession of marijuana on district property May 2. The student may apply for readmission at the beginning of the 2012-13 year.

(Contact reporter Nancy Lowry at (724) 654-6651, extension 623, or e-mail: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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