September 26, 2022


It's Your Education

Dr. Tia Wanzo is the First Black Superintendent at McKeesport Area School District

It only took 138 yrs, but McKeesport Region Faculty District ultimately has a Black Superintendent.

Dr. Tia Wanzo was sworn in yesterday at a properly attended exclusive assembly of the board.

Dr. Wanzo experienced been Assistant Superintendent beneath outgoing Superintendent Dr. Mark Holtzman who remaining the district for a corresponding place at Beaver Region University District at the close of June.

The McKeesport district, established in 1884 and positioned just southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has experienced a sizable Black populace for a long time. According to the National Heart of Education Statistics, the district is 71 % white and 23 per cent Black. It serves the Metropolis of McKeesport, and boroughs of Versailles, Dravosburg and White Oak as effectively as a modest part of South Versailles Township.

“It’s an honor to sit on the board at this time as history was created,” Board Member LaToya Wright Brown wrote on a Fb article.

“Dr. Wanzo is the 1st African American to be appointed in the job of superintendent at MASD. I appear forward to functioning in collaboration with our central administration groups, MASD workers and communities to give our students what they are entitled to.”

Dr. Wanzo will be paid $165,000 for every 12 months – $25,000 more than Dr. Holtzman had been paid out in his authentic agreement from March 29, 2017.

The board voted unanimously to seek the services of Dr. Wanzo as Superintendent however School Director Matt Holtzman – the previous Superintendent’s brother – was absent.

For the duration of the former administration, Dr. Wanzo was frequently set in difficult positions.

In 2019 when the ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the district on behalf of 11 district learners, she had the complicated career of defending her manager, Dr. Holtzman, whilst continue to advocating for the pupils.

Dr. Holtzman, who was named in the accommodate, refused to let the students create a Black University student Union. He claimed his objection wasn’t owing to the organization’s content material but the participation of one of the student’s mothers – Fawn Montgomery Walker who was working for McKeesport Mayor at the time and who is guide organizer of Just take Motion Mon Valley, a group action team.

Dr. Wanzo was quoted in the Pittsburgh Tribune Critique on the issue as follows:

“The irritating part is the college students obviously did not have an understanding of that they’re in the center of this. And also, it is irritating that they come to feel that we are telling them they are unable to do that, you’re not permitted to have this club, because that was never ever ever mentioned by any of us.”

The district inevitably arrived at a settlement settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union and the learners.

The college students had been allowed to make the club as extended as no “non-faculty people or entities” are named as advisors or members of the club.

Dr. Wanzo was also set in a complicated posture far more lately when the preceding college board voted to prolong Dr. Holtzman’s deal two a long time before it expired – a possible violation of condition legislation.

Dr. Holtzman resigned and was rehired at the exact board assembly. When this proved contentious, the past board did the similar detail a thirty day period later for Dr. Wanzo and then claimed any criticism of what they did for Holtzman was either unfair for not together with Wanzo or racially determined for the reason that Dr. Wanzo is a human being of color.

The matter concluded with Dr. Holtzman leaving the district.

Not like her predecessor, Dr. Wanzo spent her complete career at MASD. She was a fifth quality teacher at Francis McClure Middle Faculty, a second grade teacher at White Oak Elementary University, a fourth grade instructor at Cornell Intermediate College, Assistant Principal at Founders’ Hall Middle College, and ninth quality principal at the substantial school.

She graduated from the district and however lives in its borders. As a pupil, she attended Centennial Elementary, Cornell Middle School, and graduated from McKeesport Large School in 1997. 

She has a BA in Elementary Training from Clarion University, a degree in Academic Management from Carlow College, and a Doctorate in Instructional Leadership from Duquesne College.

Hopefully she will be able to direct the district to a brighter foreseeable future.

To quite a few students she may possibly show up a beacon of representation as nicely as evidence that a university student from McKeesport can rise to the prime.

Enjoy DR. WANZO Staying SWORN IN:

Like this post?  You might want to think about getting to be a Patreon subscriber. This can help me proceed to retain the website going and get on with this tough and challenging do the job.

In addition you get subscriber only extras!

Just Click In this article.


I’ve also created a book, “Gadfly on the Wall: A Community Faculty Teacher Speaks Out on Racism and Reform,” now obtainable from Garn Press. Ten per cent of the proceeds go to the Badass Academics Affiliation. Test it out!