Ian Magness, who has served as assistant superintendent in the Blairsville-Saltsburg School District since 2010, announced his resignation Friday to accept the position of superintendent in the Leechburg School District.
Magness, of Kiski Township, was hired Thursday by the Leechburg school board on a unanimous vote, he said. He received a five-year contact and an annual salary of $125,000.
He has served as assistant superintendent of Blairsville-Saltsburg since September 2010.
Magness described his departure from the district as “bittersweet,” saying he, in partnership with other administrators and teachers, have “accomplished quite a bit in a short time frame.”
He did not seek out to leave the district, he said, rather “the opportunity presented itself … and was too good to pass up.”
The career move takes Magness much closer to home, and with a daughter about to start kindergarten in the fall, closer to her school.
“It was more of a personal decision,” he said.
Magness has a history in the Leechburg area, having grown up across the river from there as a child. His father worked in Leechburg, he said, and they spent a lot of time there, where he “knows the community quite well.”
“All those things kind of came together,” he said.
Magness was regarded as a driving force in many recent developments in technology in the Blairsville-Saltsburg district, where he said he used his “knack for identifying the talents in folks and putting them in positions to leverage those talents for the betterment of the kids and their education.”
He was instrumental in writing and obtaining grants for the district, such as the Keystones to Opportunity grant that brought in nearly $3.5 million, as well as a Safe Schools grant that funded armed resource offices for the schools. Other accomplishments include improvements to curriculum and implementation of programs that provide iPads to all high school students and laptops for middle school students.
But he doesn’t like to take all the credit.
“You’re only as good as the people you’re surrounded with,” he said.
Magness is working with the district for a “healthy transition” from his position, he said.
“We’re going to leave it in a good spot,” he said.
The Leechburg School District has about 800 students, Magness said. He hopes to apply his experiences from Blairsville-Saltsburg to Leechburg “for the benefit of the teachers, and obviously the kids.”
“The kids, just as here, will be my number one priority,” he said.
He thanked those he worked with over the years and said he is grateful for this time with the district, as well as “having had the opportunity to serve the Blairsville-Saltsburg community for three and a half years.
“I hope I left it in a better place than I found it,” he said.