Purchase Line High School building 02

PURCHASE LINE — The Purchase Line School District stayed in-house for its new junior/senior high school principal.

The school board Monday night signed off on the hiring of Eric Thomas at a prorated salary of $85,000.

A teacher in the district for 22 years, he replaces James Price, who retired at the end of the past school year after holding the position for 16 years.

“It’s a big jump, but Eric’s ready for it,” Superintendent Shawn Ford said. “Eric is a hard worker, knowledgeable and motivated to succeed.”

Ford said the district had 10 applicants and interviewed six. The list was narrowed to two finalists, with Thomas being chosen over a candidate from outside the district.

Thomas was hired as an elementary teacher at Purchase Line in 1996 and held that position for seven years. He spent the past 15 years at the junior/senior high, where he has served as a junior high reading teacher and department head for kindergarten through 12th grade, instructional coach and  administrative intern.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1996 and his masters in literacy in 2002.

Thomas completed his principal certification this year.

“He has a diverse background in teaching and instructional coaching,” Ford said. “He knows Purchase Line. He understands our culture, our students and our community.

“As a superintendent, I am very much looking forward to working with Eric. I think he understands our vision and where we’re headed.”

Thomas lives in Carrolltown, Cambria County, with his wife, Julie, and five children.

Ford said Jeremy Bracken took over as the school’s new athletic director July 1. He replaced Steve Woodrow, who retired from that post and teaching at the end of last year but is expected to be retained as the boys’ basketball coach.

Bracken will be paid a salary of $5,000. He also serves as the school’s dean of students and as a guidance counselor for seventh- and eighth-graders.

“Jeremy’s very similar to Eric,” Ford said. “I’m really excited about them working together. I think they’re going to make a good team.”

In other news Monday, the board approved the hiring of two special education teachers — Rebecca Peterson at a salary of $59,692 and Elizabeth King at $56,867 — and voted to create pre-K and instructional aide positions to be filled by current staff members.

The board accepted the retirement of high school reading teacher Kimberley Misurda, effective July 29. She had been with the district for 33 years.

Meanwhile, several other coaching positions were filled. Board member Scott Beer said six individuals were rehired, including Michael Novotny as softball coach at a salary of $3,067; Sean Mack as head track coach at $4,789; Janessa Hardesty as assistant track coach at $2,060; Rebecca Hudak as assistant track coach at $2,154; Raymond Keith as assistant track coach at $2,511; and football coach Matt Falisec as weight room supervisor at $1,958.

The board also hired Michael Shaffer as an assistant football coach at an entry level salary of $2,500 and accepted the resignation of Brian Goss, effective July 2.

NOTE: This article edited at 4:15 p.m. to correct the spelling of Steve Woodrow's name.