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Plum School District has a new high school and middle school principal

Tribune-Review
| Thursday, September 20, 2018 10:39 p.m
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Plum School District officials selected their new high school principal from within, and went to a familiar well to appoint a new middle school principal.

The board promoted Oblock Junior High Principal Joe Fishell to replace outgoing high school head administrator Justin Stephans.

Pine-Richland Middle School Assistant Principal Ashley Boyers will replace Fishell.

Stephans was hired as Gateway High School’s principal earlier this year. He’s expected to leave Plum on Sept. 26.

Fishell, 51, of Murrysville, will be at the high school starting Monday to start the transition. It was unclear when Boyers will start.

Superintendent Brendan Hyland said Fishell’s experience made him the perfect choice for the high school.

“Fishell has been an integral part of the Plum Borough community, building relationships for over 24 years as an administrator, teacher and coach,” he said. “He believes that establishing a strong bond with the community and its students is the best way to serve it.”

Fishell is in his 14th year as Oblock principal. He was assistant principal there six years prior and a special education teacher for five years before becoming an administrator.

Fishell also coached football, wrestling, track and cross country at the junior high.

He has a bachelor’s degree in special education from Slippery Rock University and a master’s in public management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Stephan’s salary was $113,000. Fishell’s is $118,000 for the current school year.

The Oblock leader said he’s excited for the opportunity to lead an older group of students.

“It’s not about leaving Oblock,” Fishell said. “I’ve loved my time here. I’m ready to go to the high school.”

Both Fishell and Boyers were unanimously hired by the school board at a special meeting Sept. 17.

“Joe Fischell is well liked by everyone, has a great reputation and attitude, and has always promoted a pro-student atmosphere especially at the Oblock Junior High where he has been for a while now,” board President Steve Schlauch said. “I think it was a good move for him moving up to the high school, and I believe he will do well making the transition.”

Boyers was named Pine-Richland Middle School’s assistant principal in January 2016.

He was an assistant principal at Blackhawk High School in Chippewa Township, as well as the cyber school coordinator for the Blackhawk School District prior to coming to Pine-Richland.

Boyers earned a master’s of education in school leadership and administration with a principal certification for K-12 from the University of Pittsburgh. He has a bachelor’s in elementary education and special education from Waynesburg College along with certifications in elementary education, special education, social studies and middle school mathematics.

His starting salary at Plum will be $107,000.

“He was picked because he has made a positive impact on student academic growth and achievement, and has worked diligently for over a decade serving students and families in public education wherever he has been,” Hyland said.

Fishell said he spoke with Boyers and believes Oblock will be left in good hands.

“He comes with a tremendous amount of respect from his organization,” Fishell said. “He’s an award-winning administrator.”

Plum School District leaders have a tremendous amount of respect for Pine-Richland as well. Boyers makes the third administrator to come to Plum from the Gibsonia-based school system.

Rick Walsh, a former Wexford Elementary School principal at Pine-Richland, was hired in April as Plum’s assistant superintendent for kindergarten through eighth grade.

Pine-Richland Athletic Director Joshua Shoop was hired to replace Plum’s longtime athletic department head Bob Alpino this school year.

“As a board, we are committed to hiring only the most qualified candidates that will help make Plum a great school district both from an academic and athletic standpoint,” Schlauch said. “Pine-Richland has an excellent reputation in both of those areas.”

Shoop’s start date remains uncertain as does Alpino’s future.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

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