MCKEES ROCKS (KDKA) — There was a lot on the agenda at Thursday night’s Sto-Rox School Board meeting.
A four-year contract was approved for Dr. Michael Panza as new superintendent. Dr. Panza was superintendent of Carlynton schools.
“Any school board member will tell you one of the most exciting and important votes you can take is hiring new leadership,” Dr. Ed Maritz, a school board member, said.
“I’m certain whoever they’ve hired they’re looked into the background very closely,” says taxpayer and parent Marsha Price. “So I’m certain in the long run it’s going to be a good thing.”
Two re-assignments were also unanimously approved. Dr. Janell Logue-Belden takes over as high school principal while Dr. Melanie Kerber, who was the high school principal, now moves to the middle school.
Last October, Dr. Kerber was arrested for driving under the influence, weaving in traffic and failing sobriety tests in Upper St. Clair.
Administrators and board members say the reason for Kerber’s re-assignment is purely educational and not a demotion.
“It’s very common that districts will assign principals based on their leadership abilities and that’s what occurred here,” Dr. Maritz said.
Also recently, a complaint was made against Dr. Kerber with the Federal EEOC for allegedly making insensitive comments that were interpreted as racist.
“Our solicitor would handle any things of that nature, any claims like that would go through a litigation process.”
Acting Sto-Rox Superintendent Dr. James Manley confirms that a complaint has been made with the EEOC.
He says the district’s insurer and attorneys will be notified and that a hearing will be held, but he hopes that Dr. Kerber will not be pre-judged until the facts are out.
KDKA’s Mary Robb Jackson did try to speak with Dr. Kerber directly, but was unable to. She did talk with an attorney in the school district solicitor’s office who said they are aware of the alleged comments and that Sto-Rox would never condone anything like that.