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Robertson expected to be named Waynesboro schools superintendent

September 08, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- A Cumberland County, Pa., high school principal is expected to be named the new superintendent of the Waynesboro Area School District on Tuesday evening.

The appointment of James L. Robertson would end a six-month search for someone to serve at the district's administrative helm.

Robertson, 45, described a sense of commitment and community that he's discovered in recent trips to Waynesboro.

"In my interviews with (the school board), I felt they were really committed to education," he said.

Former superintendent Barry L. Dallara left the district in April and was making more than $110,000 annually when he retired. The school board held a round of interviews, but the search started over again at the end of May.

Gloria Walker has served as interim superintendent since Dallara's departure.

As Camp Hill High School principal, Robertson guided the school in a time that saw Pennsylvania System of School Assessment scores improve to where the school became a regional leader. The school also was 11th in the state in the 2006 administration of the SATs, according to a news release.

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Camp Hill was one of the top 500 high schools in the nation in U.S. News and World Report's 2008 rankings.

Robertson, who worked with a renovation project at another high school, would come to Waynesboro as efforts continue to renovate and expand Waynesboro Area Senior High School. The $46 million project is expected to continue through the late fall or early winter of 2009.

Robertson said he hopes to provide the schools a type of leadership that couples with community support.

A news release stated that Robertson taught social studies and coached several sports before taking principal positions in the Pine-Richland and Bethel Park school districts, both in the Pittsburgh area.

Enrollment at those districts was higher than Camp Hill School District's 1,100 students. Waynesboro's enrollment is approximately 4,200.

"Obviously, it's a much larger district than we have here, so that's a little different for me," Robertson said.

Robertson graduated from West Virginia Institute of Technology in 1985 and earned a master's degree from Shippensburg (Pa.) University. He has taught courses in instructional leadership, management and decision-making, and special education and differentiated instruction.

Robertson is completing his dissertation to obtain an educational administration doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh, the news release stated.

The Camp Hill superintendent has reportedly told Robertson that she will exercise her right to hold him in his current position for 60 days, although he said he might leave sooner if she finds a replacement.

"Even though I may be held here for 60 days, I'll be doing things to make the transition," he said.

The Waynesboro Area School Board meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the administration building at 210 Clayton Ave.

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