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May 29, 2014

DeBlasio named New Castle's assistant to superintendent

NEW CASTLE — The Lockley Early Learning Center principal is advancing in rank in the New Castle school district.

At a special meeting Tuesday, the board promoted Debra DeBlasio, 55, to the position of assistant to the superintendent for curriculum and instruction for grades pre-kindergarten through six.

The vote was 7-0-1 with George Gabriel, who is her brother, abstaining. Dr. Marilyn Berkely was absent.

DeBlasio replaces Terence P. Meehan, who resigned to take the superintendent’s post in the Neshannock school district.

She will assume her new position July 1 at a salary of $120,000 plus benefits for the 2014-15 school year.

According to superintendent John J. Sarandrea, the district decided to hire from within and DeBlasio, principal of Lockley and the Thaddeus Stevens Primary Center, was the only candidate.

“I’m excited and ready to move to the next level,” DeBlasio said Wednesday.

A New Castle High graduate, she did her student teaching at New Castle and has been employed by the district for 32 years, having taught 17 years at all eight elementary schools.

She helped to turn Lockley School from a kindergarten and primary center into solely a kindergarten and has been principal at Thaddeus and Lockley for 10 years.

“Now that the new Lockley Early Learning Center is open, our children are in a great environment for learning,” she commented. “I’m excited to go to the next level to make sure we have everything ready for a well-rounded child.”

Sarandrea said in an email that he considers DeBlasio an expert in elementary curriculum and instruction, having known her professionally for more than 20 years.

Sarandrea oversees curriculum and instruction for grades seven through 12. They worked together as principals and she was also principal over his son, Joey, a special needs student.

“Mrs. DeBlasio made every accommodation imaginable so that Joey had as good a chance as anyone to be successful in school,” Sarandrea wrote.

“Joey is now a 16-year-old honor student. I credit Debbie with getting him off to a great start. Debbie carries that same caring for all of her students and cares deeply about this district and community.”

DeBlasio has an undergraduate degree from Slippery Rock University and a master’s in education and principal’s letter from Westminster College.

According to Sarandrea, the district has interviewed nine candidates for two assistant principal posts. Six of them will go before the board for second round interviews tonight.

Dr. Carmen Nocera, principal of West Side and John F. Kennedy schools, will likely replace DeBlasio as principal at Lockley, according to Sarandrea.

Nocera will have an assistant principal there, he said, and there will be realigning of administrative staff so the assistant principal openings could be at any of the three buildings.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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