Trinity taps Lucas as superintendent

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Trinity Area School Board did not have to search far to find its new superintendent.

Assistant superintendent Michael Lucas was hired as superintendent of Trinity Area School District Thursday by a unanimous vote, and given a 5-year contract. His salary was set at $140,000.

According to school board President Jennifer Morgan, the decision to hire Lucas was an easy one.

“We are all supportive of him. We are all very happy with what he has done,” said Morgan.

Lucas has been employed with the district since August 2011, when he was named assistant superintendent, and he has led the district unofficially since February, when Superintendent Paul Kasunich was placed on paid leave following an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. Kasunich and the school district reached a separation agreement last week.

“He definitely stepped up to the plate these last few months, running the district by himself,” said Morgan. “We’re very pleased with his leadership skills, his people skills. He’s very knowledgeable and willing to work with us, and he’s putting himself out there in the community. He’s been a very good face for our district.”

Before he came to Trinity, Lucas served as principal at Cornell School District and a part-time faculty member at Robert Morris University.

In 2010, Cornell earned a National Blue Ribbon School award and Lucas was among 10 principals in the nation to receive the U.S. Department of Education’s Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership.

Lucas began his career teaching grades two, four, five and seven. He was a reading specialist, social studies teacher and football coach before he was promoted to assistant principal at Moon Area High School.

He earned his degree in elementary education from Duquesne University. Lucas holds a master’s and doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Pittsburgh where he received their Early Career Award. In 2005, he was named co-recipient of the Don Eichhorn Award.

“I’d like to thank the school board directors for their trust in me. We’ve been working together for the past four to five months, and we’ve accomplished much,” said Lucas. “I want you all to know that the Trinity Area School District is moving forward, we’re not looking back. We have much more to accomplish together. This is a unified group of school board members. They want the best for our kids. That’s what they want and that’s the way they make decisions. They care about the students. They’re focused on the students and they’re focused on achievement. We’re also concerned that we really want the tradition and pride to be back in the Trinity Area School District, and we are the group to do it and we’re excited about it. This is a true honor.”

Also Thursday, Lucas was appointed as substitute superintendent, effective from May 28 through June 30. He will assume his superintendent’s duties July 1.

In other business, the board unanimously hired the law firm Peacock Keller as district solicitor. Terms of the contract were not available Thursday night.

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