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TASD fills Director of Curriculum and Instruction position

Last May, the Tyrone Area School Board voted 6-2 to abolish the Assistant Superintendent position in the district, which in turn, the board created the new position of Director of Curriculum and Instruction Pre-K-12.
At the September 9 school board meeting, members voted 7-0, with Ray Detwiler abstaining and Pete Dutrow absent, to appoint Tyrone Area High School (TAHS) Dean of Students, Leslie (Ieraci) Estep, to the position of Director of Curriculum and Instruction.
The Act 93 job is full-time, carrying 260 contract days, five days per week, for seven and one half hours a day. Estep will be paid a salary of $70,000, with full benefits.
Four candidates were initially interviewed by a screening committee of 11 individuals, which included teachers, administrators, a local citizen, and a parent.
Superintendent Dr. William Miller said that the committee assessed a number of category descriptors during the interview process, such as: knowledge base, experience in administration, leadership skills and style, work ethic, organization, personnel relationship, people skills, being a team player, district and/or community involvement, longevity, letters of recommendations, technical background, and the responses to numerous interview questions.
“Three to five telephone contacts were made to support and validate the information secured on each candidate,” said Miller. “Two were selected by this committee to go to the board for interviews.”
Last Tuesday, she and another candidate were interviewed by the board and Estep was “overwhelmingly elected” to the new position, according to Miller.
Miller added that central office personnel, who participated in the committee process, agreed with the recommendations with unanimous support for Estep.
Estep, 36, is a 1990 graduate of TAHS and a 1994 graduate of Juniata College, with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Secondary Education/Social Studies. In 2000, she attained her Masters of Education degree from Saint Francis University; then completing Principal K-12 certification in 2005.
She lives with her husband, Mike, in Sinking Valley, who she said, along with her parents, Judy and Frank, have always encouraged and supported her.
“I have also had the opportunity to work with colleagues who have been supportive and who have challenged me to grow professionally,” added Estep.
With being a former student and having 15 years of service already at Tyrone, she credited the district as the place that has guided her in her choice of work.
“This is a community full of good people that I have always been proud to have been a part,” said Estep. “Our school district is full of excellent teachers and staff who care about this community and its children.”
Estep’s new position in the school district will give her the opportunity to impact students, parents, staff, and teachers. The job consists of dealing with the planning of educational programming within the district. Among other things, she will be working closely with all three building principals, department heads, and teachers to evaluate curriculum and coordinate professional development and the Act 48 system.
“One advantage of taking on a new role within the district where I have already worked is that I will be able to continue to work with people that I know and respect,” stated Estep. “With this position being  district-wide, I look forward to working with all staff and not just those at the middle and high school.”
District PSSA coordination will also be part of her job, as well as overseeing the initiation and implementation of improvements in instructional practices.
“Leslie is self-motivated, has a proven leadership style, and possesses an exceptional talent that is most effective in working with students, staff, administration, parents, and community members,” said Miller. “Her work ethic, excellent organizational skills, collegial approach to tasks, and interpersonal skills greatly enhance her ability as an instructional leader.”
He added, “She is well groomed and prepared for this major step in her career, and she will do an excellent job in this position.”
Estep said that one of her biggest goals is to be available to staff and work collaboratively with them to improve instruction for students.
“One of the greatest challenges is going to be working with staff to prioritize the direction in which this position will head, and becoming more familiar with some of the district’s programs and initiatives with which I have not worked closely,” said Estep.
A tentative date of October 1, 2008 has been set for Estep to begin as Director of Curriculum and Instruction PreK-12.