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(Photo by Mary Shelly/Special to Tube City Almanac)
Dr. Mark Holtzman Jr. is the new superintendent of the McKeesport Area School District.
At a special meeting Wednesday night, school directors voted unanimously, with all nine members present, to appoint Holtzman to the position.
Holtzman's position is effective July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2022 including a salary of $140,000, subject to the terms and conditions upon execution of a written agreement between the parties.
Holtzman's work experience includes serving as MASD's Director of Secondary-Education and Teacher Evaluation from July 2015 to the present, McKeesport Area High School's Building Principal from July 2010 to June 2015, and as Dean of Students at West Mifflin Area High School from August 2007 to July 2010.
Holtzman also worked as a behavioral specialist for both MAHS and the UPMC's Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.
School Director Patricia Maksin was very vocal in her strong support for Holtzman. She said she did not originally vote for Holtzman seven years ago because of issues she had with his appointment, and because she also felt he wasn't ready. "You proved me wrong," Maksin said. "I learned to never vote against Mark Holtzman, because what Mark Holtzman says, he's going to do."
After thanking the board for its support and confidence in him, Holtzman said, "I am normally not short of words, but today I am. Thank you so much."
After the meeting was adjourned, Holtzman said he feels humbled to have the opportunity to become superintendent, and is proud of being a McKeesport Tiger.
"It is the many great educators that I have worked along side with for many years, that have prepared me for this position," Holtzman said. His biggest goal for the district is the "continued progress in student achievement, continuing to improve the teaching and learning process with strong leadership, commitment, and relationships."
Holtzman's post-secondary education includes a bachelor's degree in sociology from Syracuse University, a master's degree in secondary-education from Duquesne University, a master's degree in school administration and supervision while receiving his principal's certification from Duquesne University, and a doctor of education degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
Outgoing superintendent of schools Dr. Rula Skezas said she was also very proud of the appointment and referred to Holtzman as her "surrogate son" at work.
"I know with me passing the baton on to Mark, this district is going to grow and flourish," Skezas said.
Freelance writer Mary Shelly is a junior at McKeesport Area High School.
Originally published March 30, 2017.