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MARION CENTER: Elementary principal Bruder-Smith retires

by on March 25, 2014 10:55 AM

MARION CENTER — Donna Bruder-Smith, the Marion Center Area School District’s elementary principal for more than 14 years, Monday announced her plans to retire June 29, ending a 36-year career as a teacher and school administrator.

Before she was hired by the Marion Center district in January 2000, Bruder-Smith was the principal of the Punxsutawney Area Middle School and before that was the principal of Punxsutawney’s nine elementary schools.

A Harrisburg native, she studied at Bloomsburg, Millersville and Shippensburg universities and began her career teaching special education in three eastern Pennsylvania school districts.

She joined the Marion Center district as the principal of three elementary schools and helped reorganize the district when it was consolidated into fewer buildings and two elementary schools were closed in 2010.

Director Charles LaVan made the motion to accept Bruder-Smith’s resignation, “definitely with regret,” he said.

District Superintendent Dr. Frank Garritano said Bruder-Smith had been especially helpful to him when he joined the district four years ago, and had always been helpful to the district’s administrative team.

Former director Don Magas, speaking from the audience as a member of the community, also thanked Bruder-Smith for her years of service to the school district.

Bruder-Smith’s husband is state Rep. Sam Smith, R-Punxsutawney, who announced earlier this spring that he, too, is retiring from the House when his 14th term ends in November.

Immediately after her retirement was accepted, the school directors promoted assistant elementary principal Susan DeVaughn to succeed Bruder-Smith, effective July 1.

DeVaughn had been a middle school counselor in the Punxsutawney Area School District before she joined the Marion Center district in December 2010. She was a kindergarten teacher in the Westmont School District in the late 1990s and later was employed by Indiana University of Pennsylvania as a residence director.

As the Marion Center district’s new elementary principal, she’ll earn $88,500 annually.

The directors also accepted the retirement of Bonnie Slater, the district’s food service supervisor, effective June 30.

In another personnel change, the board combined the positions of athletic trainer and athletic director into the new position of athletic supervisor and then hired Pam Anderson to fill the new post.

The athletic supervisor will manage the district’s athletic programs, schedule sports events and oversee the health care of student athletes.

Anderson, who has been the district’s athletic trainer for several years, will earn $43,000 annually in her new job.

The directors Monday also authorized Ken Kirkland, maintenance and transportation supervisor, to move forward with several repair and improvement projects. In some cases, moving forward will only involve gathering more information or price quotes.

The maintenance and improvement projects include:

• Moving door buzzers and remote locks from the outside doors to the inside vestibule doors at the McCreery Elementary School and the high school. The change will allow visitors to wait in the vestibules and out of the weather until they are “buzzed” through the locked doors.

• Installing a second card reader and magnets on the second set of doors in the hallway leading to the swimming pool, allowing the outside doors to be unlocked at certain times for pool patrons.

• Installing foul line poles at third base and a fence along the stream at the high school softball field.

• Seeding and planting shade trees at the playground at McCreery Elementary.

• Getting quotes on building tiers on the teachers’ sloping parking lots at the high school-McCreery Elementary campus.

• Repairing the top of the retaining wall along the lower side of McCreery Elementary School.

• Residing and installing new doors on the district’s maintenance building in Marion Center.

In other action the directors:

• Approved the 2014-15 school calendar. The next school year will start Aug. 27 and the 2014-15 calendar has five emergency weather days.

• Approved the Armstrong-Indiana Intermediate Unit’s 2014-15 general operating budget. The Marion Center district’s share has not been precisely determined but is expected to be about $47,000, roughly the same as this year, according to district business manager Richard Martini.

• Reappointed director Charles Glasser as the district’s representative on the ARIN IU 28 board of directors.

• Hired Christopher Adams, a retired state police trooper, as a school security officer at an hourly rate of $16.

• Added Tara Runk and Joseph Ryer to the elementary volunteer list and approved Nathan Johns as a volunteer baseball coach.

Randy Wells has been a reporter and staff writer at The Indiana Gazette since 1988. His regular assignments include coverage of the Indiana County commissioners, Indiana Borough council and the Marion Center Area School District. His email address is
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