The WPIAL board of directors must replace one of its members for the third time in two months.
The latest is New Castle superintendent John Sarandrea, who will retire this week from his school district administration job. He was a member of the WPIAL board for only one year as the superintendents’ representative, but he used his short tenure to promote an effort by public school administrators seeking playoff reform.
The movement gained traction in April when the WPIAL board granted Sarandrea’s request to send a boundary/non-boundary survey to member schools.
“That was the incipient stage of this whole thing,” said Sarandrea, an organizer at last week’s PIAA Playoff Equity Summit in State College. “That’s what started the fire. It was that WPIAL survey.”
Laurel superintendent Leonard Rich, a fellow summit organizer and advocate for separate playoffs, could replace Sarandrea on the WPIAL board.
The superintendents’ seat is rotated among Western Pennsylvania’s intermediate units in two-year intervals. Midwestern IU 4, which includes Butler, Lawrence and Mercer County schools, holds the seat through next school year.
Sarandrea, a former teacher, principal and boys basketball coach, retired after 11 years as a superintendent – the past five at New Castle.
“I never believed them, but ‘they’ always said when it’s time, you’ll know,” Sarandrea said. “I know.”
Sarandrea coached New Castle basketball from 1992-2007 and led the Red Hurricanes to four WPIAL titles.
The vacancy on the WPIAL board is the third this summer.
Former Elizabeth Forward superintendent Bart Rocco retired in June, and former Baldwin athletic director Vince Sortino accepted a job in Dallastown in July.
West Allegheny athletic director Dave McBain replaced Rocco. Hampton athletic director Bill Cardone will replace Sortino.
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at [email protected] or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.