New Castle News

Closer Look

November 15, 2013

New Castle native named director at PSU Shenango

NEW CASTLE —  Penn State Shenango’s new campus director is a New Castle native.

Dr. Jo Anne Carrick has been named as successor to Dr. Fred Leeds, who will retire Dec. 31 as chancellor of the downtown Sharon branch campus.

Leeds, of Hermitage, has been affiliated with the Shenango campus for 42 years. He started his career in 1971 as assistant professor of French. He became director of academic affairs in 1987 and has been chancellor since 2005. During his tenure, he received the Penn State Administrative Excellence Award in 2008 and multiple other honors.

Carrick will assume the campus leadership Jan. 1.

Currently an assistant professor of nursing at Penn State Erie’s Behrend College, she also is assistant director for academic planning and learning and coordinator for nursing programs at Penn State Erie.

Carrick was born and raised in New Castle, attended St. Vitus School, Ben Franklin Junior High and graduated from New Castle High School.

Carrick also graduated from St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing and moved to Sharon in 1974 to work as a registered nurse at Sharon General Hospital. She moved to Pittsburgh in 1975 and to Erie in 1995.

One of her sisters, Patricia Scarnati, and other relatives still live in the New Castle area, she said. Scarnati is a teacher and librarian in the New Castle school district. Another sister, Connie Erdlen, retired from the city school district. Her sister Elaine Smail teaches in Washington, Pa.

“I believe my life has been enriched with a strong sense of family that you get growing up in a small town,” Carrick said.

“While I have lived in other cities, New Castle will always be my home and where it all started for me,” she said. “I was a huge sports fan, loved our high school football and basketball ... and take pride in being the first female sports editor for the high school newspaper during my senior year. That was long before women sports reporters became popular.”

Carrick earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Penn State and a master of science in nursing from the University of Pittsburgh. She received her doctorate in administration and leadership studies in higher education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Carrick said returning to Penn State Shenango “is like going home.” She took her first class for her degree in nursing at the Shenango campus and was a faculty member there 11 years before moving to the Erie campus, where she opened its nursing program.

“It’s very fitting, I think, to be coming back to where it all began.”

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