Ambridge Area School District

901 Duss Avenue, Ambridge PA 15003 | 724.266.2833

  
  

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Public Relations

Parents, please be aware that in addition to our sewage issue today, a transformer blew outside the building.  This in turn, created a power outage in the building and thus hampered our dismissal.  Your children may be a few minutes late getting home.  As a precautionary measure, we also held the walkers until the police assured administration that it was safe for them to dismiss. 

Since we are unsure of when the power will be back on, we are moving the middle school presentation to the high school library this evening.  The library is on the second floor.  After entering the building over the bridge, turn right and go up the stairs.  Thank you for your understanding as we are dealing with these emergency situations.

 

 

Shari Berg

Public Relations Consultant

Communication Solutions Group

412-487-4295 - Corporate Office (Pittsburgh)

724-713-3254 - Mobile

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The Ambridge Area School District works cooperatively with members of the media to provide accurate information about District events and activities. Members of the media who are interested in reporting on a story regarding the Ambridge Area School District or relevant topic, or who wish to arrange an interview with a student or faculty member, are encouraged to review the information below.

Interviewing/Photographing District Staff or Students

Upon request, the Ambridge Area School District provides access to District Administrators, Faculty and Students to discuss current issues and for photographing special events.  

Visiting District Schools/Facilities

All visitors to the Ambridge Area School District – which includes members of the media – are required to sign in and receive a visitor’s badge. The District uses the Raptor Visitor Management System, which requires visitors to present a valid state-issued ID at the time of entry. Media visiting schools and other facilities will be accompanied by either the Public Relations Consultant or an Administrative Team Member.

Communications Office Contact:

Shari Berg, Public Relations Consultant
Communications Solutions Group

412-487-4295 (office)

724-713-3254 (mobile)

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Ambridge Area Middle School will have a familiar face at the helm when doors are opened for the 2018-2019 School Year.

 

Ambridge Area School Board of Directors approved the transfer of Mr. Thomas McKelvey to the position of Middle School Principal at the June 13 meeting. He currently serves in the position of State Street Elementary Principal. He will begin his new role as Middle School Principal on July 1.

 

Mr. McKelvey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, Special Education and Middle School Level Science from Slippery Rock University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He received his Master of Science in Education, K-12 Principal Certification from California University and most recently has been accepted into the Doctoral Program at Point Park University.

 

He began his professional career in the Beaver Area School District as a special education and general educator, and also served as a Behavior Consultant for the Watson Institute. He also has served as an Assistant Principal at Woodland Hills Academy (K-8). Mr. McKelvey is certified in Crisis Prevention Intervention.

 

His awards and honors include but are not limited to: Discovery Educator’s Network Star Educator, PTA Extra Care for Kids Award Recipient, Distinguished Service and Scholastic Excellence Award, Community Service Recognition Award and Golden Key International Honor Society.

 

“We are pleased to have Mr. McKelvey continue to serve the Ambridge Area School District,” said Dr. Jo Welter, Superintendent. “He is a caring and committed educator. He is a person of great integrity.  He will serve the students, teachers and community of our new middle school with enthusiasm and dedication.”

 

Mrs. Jo Ann Hoover, current principal at Highland Elementary School, was approved for a transfer to fill the position being vacated by Mr. McKelvey at State Street Elementary. Her starting date is yet to be determined.

 

Mrs. Hoover is a graduate of Slippery Rock University, with Bachelor degrees in Elementary and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Special Education degree from Duquesne University and Principal Certification from Slippery Rock University. She previously served in the Pittsburgh Public School System for 24 years. She is a certified trainer for Therapeutic Crisis Intervention. During her tenure at Highland Elementary, she implemented a schoolwide positive behavior support program, which reduced the number of discipline referrals and suspensions. “She will provide stability and continuity for State Street as Mr. McKelvey transitions to the Middle School,” said Dr. Welter. “We are very fortunate to have her expertise.”

 

The Board also approved the hiring of Dr. Laura Burns to fill the position being vacated by Mrs. Hoover at Highland Elementary School. Her starting date is yet to be determined.

 

 

Dr. Burns earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Master of Arts degree in Teaching from the University of Pittsburgh. She received a Master of Public Management with a concentration in Educational Leadership from Carnegie Mellon University. Most recently, she received her Doctor of Education and Superintendent Letter of Eligibility from the University of Pittsburgh. She previously served as a Social Studies teacher in the Baldwin Whitehall School District and as an Assistant Principal at both the Carlynton Junior-Senior High School and the Pine-Richland High School.

 

 

Dr. Burns’ professional honors include: memberships on the Pennsylvania State Social Studies Curriculum Committee and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Study Tour. Also, Dr. Burns was a recipient of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia Grant.

 

“Dr. Burns is committed to improving teaching and learning in the Ambridge Area School District,” said Dr. Welter. “We are pleased to have her as a part of our team.”

 

School Board member, Terry Mylan, was approved at the last School Board meeting to form a committee for Public Relations for the AASD. We will focus on goals and a strategy to increase communication, information and overall knowledge. Please email Mrs. Mylan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name, a paragraph with your background, and an explanation of your desire to be involved. We will have monthly meetings and email meetings then formulate a strategy to increase positive happenings within the AASD, communications and knowledge throughout our District. We encourage the participation of the taxpayers, educators, and parents. Community engagement is critical to educational success. We welcome your knowledge, experience and talents.

 

 

During the 2018 Commencement Ceremony, held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at Ambridge High School, four new members of the Ambridge Hall of Honor were inducted.

Superintendent Dr. Jo Welter introduced the four new inductees. They are:

 

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Dr. Ken Cirka-1989 Graduate

Dr. Cirka is a 1989 graduate of the AASD. Dr. Cirka received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Grove City College and a Master of Arts degree from Slippery Rock University. He attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, where he received his Doctorate of Dental Medicine. Dr. Cirka is a cosmetic dentist who was named "Best of Philadelphia," America's Best Dentist,Life MagazineTop Dentist and a six-year recipient of Consumer Research Council's Top Dentist award he is the senior dentist and owner of Philadelphia Dentistry.

In addition, Dr. Cirka is a philanthropist and is active with the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, American Cancer Society, Feeding America and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Additional volunteerism and charity include Mom and PA dental, Purses Full of Hope, AIDSWalk, Have a Heart, Feeding America and Share Food Program.

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Mrs. Karen Larrimer-1980 Graduate

Mrs. Karen (Petcash) Larrimer, a 1980 AASD graduate, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Point Park University. She is currently the executive vice president, head of retail banking and chief customer officer of The PNC Financial Services Group. Mrs. Larrimer is the first female chairwoman of the board for the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and a board and executive committee member of the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh.

Mrs. Larrimer has been recognized as one of the Most Powerful Women in Banking byAmerican BankerMagazine (2017, 2016, ,2015); was selected to receive a Most Powerful and Influential Woman Award by the National Diversity Council's Pennsylvania Awards Committee (2014); and was a finalist  for the 2014 Athena Award. She received the Girl Scouts of America Award of Distinction in Business (2013) and was named "Mother of the Year" (2010) by the national publicationWorking Mother.She also was named a"Women Worth Watching"byDiversity Journalin 2009 and was one of the Best 50 Women in Business in Pennsylvania in 2003.

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Capt. Charles D. Rowley-1952 Graduate

Capt. Charles D. Rowley is receiving this honor posthumously. A 1952 graduate, Capt. Rowley retired after 30 years of service in the United States Navy. After graduating from the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School, he completed seven deployments, including two tours of duty and more than 160 missions during the Vietnam War. The Commanding Officer of the Naval Training Center from 1985 to 1990, Capt. Rowley was responsible for 1,300 people. He also was the Director of Computer Resources and Avionics with the Navy as well as the principal and chairman of the Joint Services Review Committee for Avionics.

Capt. Rowley's personal service awards include: the Distinguished Flying Cross; Meritorious Service Medal; National Defense Medal; Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross; Armed Services Expeditionary Medal; and 12 Air Medal Strike/Flight Awards.

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Ms. Rhonda Wozniak-1979 Graduate

Ms. Rhonda Wozniak is a 1979 AASD graduate. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Colorado at Denver; her Master of Arts Degree in Art Conservation from the State University of New York, College at Buffalo; and her Certificate of Advanced Studies in the Conservation of Marine Archaeological Objects at the Western Australian Maritime Museum. Ms. Wozniak was the objects conservator and only female crew member aboard the 1994 RMS Titanic expedition that recovered over 400 artifacts from the shipwreck under the direction of IFREMER, the French Oceanographic Institute. The expedition was featured as a National Geographic documentary. Ms. Wozniak lived and worked in France for two years as the primary conservator to prepare the Titanic objects for world-wide exhibit. Rhonda also held the post of Objects Conservator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh for ten years, and now owns and operates her own MWBE certified art conservation laboratory in Pittsburgh.

The Hall of Honor was established to commend outstanding Ambridge Area School District alumni for their accomplishments, successes, service to others and state or national awards. In order to be eligible for nomination, alumni must meet the following criteria: they must have made a significant community contribution and/or career-related accomplishment. One-time distinctions or awards may be appropriate if they were given at a state or national level. The primary goal of the Hall of Honor is to have our current students aspire to the greatness that other Ambridge Area graduates have achieved," said Dr. Welter. "Those successful graduates add to our greatness and allow us to encourage and motivate current students toward future aspirations."

Information about the Hall of Honor is available here.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released a statement on Wednesday that includes one finding and one recommendation for improvement for the Ambridge Area School District for an audit covering fiscal years July 2012 through June 2016.

 

The finding involved retirement benefits for previous superintendents which included the superintendent and their immediate family members. DePasquale determined the practice posed a significant financial impact on the District and recommended the District include a minimum years of service provision in all future employment contracts.

 

“The Ambridge Area School District appreciates the recommendations provided by the Auditor General’s Office following its review of District finances and operations,” said Doug McCausland, Director of Operations for the Ambridge Area School District. “The District takes all recommendations seriously and already has begun the process of implementing corrective action for the finding contained within the report.”

 

Starting with the three-year contract for its new superintendent, which is effective July 27, 2017 through July 30, 2020, post-employment benefits are extended only to Dr. Jo Welter. Should she elect to cover her spouse, she will be responsible for paying the difference in premium cost. Benefits for Dr. Welter continue only until she reaches age 65. Due to her decades-long career in public education, a minimum years of employment provision was not included in her current contract.

 

“Retirement insurance provisions are common features of superintendents’ contracts in the Commonwealth with many being more generous than what the Ambridge Area School District agreed to provide its current Superintendent,” said Mr. McCausland. “We believe the contract with our current superintendent is not only fair to her, but also fiscally responsible and in alignment with the auditor’s recommendations.”

 

The full auditor’s report is available here

What:StandUP Against Bullying Balloon Launch

When: 2 p.m., Thursday, April 12, 2018

Where: Ambridge Area Senior High School (bridge near front entrance)

What You Will See: Ambridge Area High School students are embracing the #ChooseKind movement with an activity designed to get them thinking about the value of being kind to classmates and standing up against bullying. The event is being organized by student Marissa Hooks. Students who participate are asked to write a kind message to another student anonymously on a balloon.

Each balloon costs $1. The balloon-o-grams will be delivered to students during the afternoon activity period on April 12. Students will then take their balloons to the bridge at the front of the school and release them around 2 p.m. to “pay it forward” to others in the community and beyond who will find the balloons – and their kind messages – after their launch.

 

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Big Brother, Big Sister Organization.

Subcategories

This page contains press releases about events and news within the Ambridge Area School District.

Ambridge Area School District Students and the Media

 

Individual and/or group interviews, photos or videotapes of AASD students may be taken during the school year for use by the District in various publications, for use in the media, and for use on the District website and social media accounts.

 

Ambridge encourages opportunities for positive media publicity by:

 

1. Arranging for reporters or photographers to interview and/or photograph students.

2. Using photos of students on the District website and social media accounts to recognize student achievement.