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PENNS MANOR: School board names acting principal

by JULIE E. MARTIN on January 31, 2014 10:50 AM

KENWOOD — A new high school principal has replaced Penns Manor Area High School’s Daren Johnston, at least for now.

The move comes after Johnston accepted the opportunity to serve as the district’s interim superintendent earlier this month, replacing Thomas “T.J.” Kakabar.

Johnston, 44, has served as the high school principal at Penns Manor since 2004. He is graduate of Marion Center Area High School and holds a master’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is pursuing his superintendent certificate through Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

With Johnston moving up, for the time being, special-education teacher Michelle Dolges takes his place. She was appointed to the position at a special meeting of the Penns Manor school board Tuesday.

According to the district’s business manager, David Kudlawiec, Dolges will receive a bit of a pay increase, with her salary going from about $65,000 to $70,000 as she serves as high school principal.

Dolges has superintendent and special education certifications, Kudlawiec said.

Kakabar, who held the district’s top administrator position for about seven years, recently resigned to take a position as superintendent in the Conemaugh Township Area School District in Somerset County. The new job takes Kakabar closer to his Cambria County home.

Kakabar’s last day at Penns Manor was Jan. 10.

The district will soon advertise for a new special-education teacher to replace Dolges in a long-term substitute capacity, Kudlawiec said.

Though officials said the search for a new superintendent won’t begin until later this year, some of the interim changes may become permanent. Officials indicated earlier this month that when the call goes out for candidates, Johnston will apply.

In addition, a Feb. 13 preliminary budget meeting has been moved to Feb. 19 so that it can be held prior to the regular board meeting. The board meeting will begin at 7 p.m. and take place in the district’s administration building.

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