South Fayette Superintendent Bille Rondinelli announced during the school board’s Tuesday night meeting she is retiring.
After eight years as superintendent, Rondinelli will retire during the 2017-18 school year, most likely after the holiday recess in December.
Rondinelli, who turns 60 in July, announced at the end of the school board meeting she is leaving her position to spend more time with her family.
“South Fayette has been the greatest journey of my career,” Rondinelli said from a prepared statement while holding back tears. “It is truly with deep gratitude and appreciation that I thank all of our present and past board members, our staff and community and, most importantly, our extraordinary students that have contributed to this success.”
Already a grandmother to her daughter’s toddler, Rondinelli’s youngest son and his wife will be having their first child in December.
“I’ve just reached the point in my career where my children need me again, and I want to be there for them,” Rondinelli said. “If (my husband and) I did not have my grandchildren entering into our lives right now, there’s still so much that I’d love to do and continue to work at South Fayette. This truly is a very personal decision, and I am not in any way unsatisfied with this district.”
Rondinelli informed the board at its meeting last week of her plans to retire, and she said “the board could not be more supportive.”
School Board President Leonard Fornella said the board is “disappointed” she is retiring, but they “understand” she has an obligation to her family.
Rondinelli, who has worked in education since 1979, began as superintendent in 2009. Previously, she worked at Shaler Area and Pine-Richland school districts.
As one of the fastest growing communities in Pennsylvania, Rondinelli is proud of the accomplishments of the district in her tenure.
South Fayette School District has placed in the top 10 in Pittsburgh Business Times’ annual regional rankings in every year under Rondinelli, while ranking No. 1 overall in the region the last three years.
“It has truly been the pinnacle of my career to be here,” she said. “South Fayette has gone from a small, rural school district to one of the top performing school districts in the country.”
Rondinelli also listed implementing a 1-to-1 technology-to-student system and increasing the amount of money in the fund balance as achievements of the district.
However, the board also raised property taxes almost every year of Rondinelli’s tenure, although it did not do so in its 2017-18 budget, which it adopted during the meeting.
At the meeting, Rondinelli thanked the board for its support during her time as superintendent.
After Fornella complimented Rondinelli on her time with the district, board member Alexander Czaplicki then shared a similar sentiment.
“I would say Dr. Rondinelli is a better person than she is as an administrator, which is high praise,” Czaplicki said.
Rondinelli’s contract, which she signed in 2013, will expire June 30, 2018, after her projected retirement.
Fornella said the board will begin the process of hiring a replacement “immediately.” Advertisement for the position, as well as the hiring of a consultant, will happen within the next few weeks.
Rondinelli said she has offered to help the board in anyway, hoping to make it a “seamless transition.”