The Greensburg Salem School Board completed a round of teacher hires this week and announced additional positions – as the panel agreed to the retirement of two teachers and the resignation of four others, with the start of the school in a few weeks.

The board also filled a vacant college administrative position and approved a $4,000 salary increase for District Superintendent Ken Bissell.

The increase to $150,000 the board approved for Bissell doubled the minimum annual salary increase he was to receive under his four-year contract, which runs until June 2026.

Bissell said he plans to pay a portion of the salary increase to the Greensburg Salem Education Foundationwhich raises funds to improve learning, helping to support classroom and school initiatives.

“I feel like our kids need something,” Bissell said, indicating that the foundation is “a good place for me to give back.”

Greensburg Salem hired Ray Francis as the college’s new associate principal for a salary of $84,500. He takes over a position that opened up in July – after David Redinger was promoted to principal at the college and former building superintendent Adam Jones moved to high school, as co-principal with David Zilli.

Francis gained experience as an educator in Louisiana and Texas, as a math teacher, vice principal, and principal. He then moved to Pennsylvania, where he worked for Pittsburgh-based Propel Charter Schools.

“We saw an immediate fit with our staff and our students,” Bissell said of Francis. “He brings a lot of energy.”

The board has hired Laura Dees, a certified K-12 music teacher, to replace Melanie Callas, who recently retired. Gloria Rehak, a sixth-grade language arts teacher, and Camile Nemanic, a math specialist at Hutchinson Elementary, also retired, effective this week.

“We will all miss them,” Bissell said of the retirees. “The kids came first, that was the big deal with all of them.”

The school board also accepted the resignations of Melissa Gibbon, secondary math teacher, Michael Rhea, secondary learning support teacher, Molly Sossong, elementary teacher, and Mary Jo Holtzer, secondary school support teacher. elementary learning.

In addition to Dees, the board hired: high school math instructor Scott Shirey; Tyler Brinton, professor of business, computer science and information technology; two primary school teachers; a full-time elementary supply teacher; a K-12 school counselor; six K-12 special education teachers; and a full-time substitute special education teacher.

Bissell acknowledged that staff turnover was “more than usual” at this time of year.

“There have been resignations for various reasons,” he said. “We’ve had employees move into administrative positions in other districts, and we’ve had other employees move closer to home.”

Bissell said the district has so far received many applications for the faculty positions it needs to fill. The biggest challenge, he said, was finding the time to schedule interviews with the hopefuls in preparation for the students’ return to class on August 30.

This week, the board cleared advertising for several positions it has yet to fill: a math teacher and a language teacher for students in grades 7-12; a primary school teacher; one learning support teacher and two special education teachers for grades K-12.

“Our concern is with turnover statewide,” Bissell said of filling the remaining vacancies. “How many (districts) are going to have to retain their staff before moving on to their new positions? This could be a concern.

Until replacements are hired, Bissell said, the district will look to temporarily fill open teaching slots with replacement instructors. While a number of districts in the area have been challenged to find enough replacements in recent years, Bissell said that hasn’t been a problem in Greensburg Salem.

The district is also looking to fill some additional positions, including head coach of varsity boys’ basketball, a job that pays $10,616. Mark Zahorchak, who led the hoop coaching staff for four years, has stepped down from that athletic role. But he will continue as a faculty member, teaching high school law and economics classes.

Greensburg Salem is also looking to replace Rhea as assistant college athletics coach, a position that brings in $2,753.

Jeff Himler is an editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Jeff by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .