District seeking public’s input
Downingtown superintendent search ongoing after Lawrence Mussoline announced his retirement plans
In an effort to find a new Downingtown Area School District superintendent after Lawrence Mussoline retires, there will be meetings for public input during the search.
Members of the school district community are invited to discuss their expectations for the superintendent by attending a focus group facilitated by the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU). The focus group will be held on Oct. 24 from 7-8 p.m. at the Downingtown Area School
District’s administrative building at 540 Trestle Place in East Caln. In addition, the district is holding a special focus group on Friday for senior citizens from 10-11 a.m. at the administrative building.
“Securing an outstanding superintendent for the Downingtown Area School District who will continue to create a first-class educational system for our students and our community is the board’s top priority,” said Colleen Cranney, president of the Downingtown Area School Board. “We encourage the public to be involved in the process. This is an open invitation for our community to share their thoughts and ideas on what the new superintendent should bring to our district.”
The hopes and concerns expressed during the focus group will be used to develop a candidate profile and interview questions. A total of 15 focus group sessions will be conducted with district stakeholders, including parents, staff, students, senior citizens and the community at large. Parents, students and staff have been invited to the focus groups via the district’s email notification system. For a full listing of the focus groups, visit the district website at www. dasd.org.
Interested participants may register online at www. cciu.org/DASD. Registration is not required. In case of inclement weather, participants
who register will be notified via email and telephone of cancellation.
The CCIU has been selected by the Downingtown school board members to conduct the district’s superintendent search. The CCIU also conducted the search that brought Mussoline to Downingtown seven years ago.
“We are honored to be given the opportunity to assist the Downingtown Area School District in this capacity,” Joseph O’Brien, CCIU executive director, said in a statement. “Focus groups are a vital aspect of our search. I encourage the community to attend, share their thoughts and help us find the best candidate for the job.”
CCIU representatives said the search team is also communicating with stakeholders via email and website updates, for example. Community members who are unable to attend a focus group, but who are still interested in sharing their thoughts, can direct their comments to DASDSuptSearch@cciu.org.
Mussoline announced in July his retirement set for the end of this 2016-17 school year. His resignation will be effective when his contract with the district expires June 30, 2017.
Appointed by the school board members in 2009, Mussoline oversaw the opening of two Downingtown schools – the Downingtown STEM Academy and the Marsh Creek Sixth Grade Center.
Under his leadership, the district has become one of the top-ranked school districts
in the state and in the nation. STEM Academy became the No. 1 high school in Pennsylvania for two consecutive years with all three Downingtown high schools named to the Washington Post list of most challenging high schools in America. Downingtown is the largest school district in Chester County with 16 schools.
Mussoline has worked in Pennsylvania private and public education for more than 35 years as a teacher and administrator. This is his eighth year as the Downingtown superintendent.
“I would like to thank members of the Downingtown Area School District board of education, the administrative team, the teacher team, the support staff, parents and community for allowing me the honor to serve the children of the greater Downingtown Area,” Mussoline wrote in his notice of resignation. “It is with great pride and admiration to everyone comprising this boundless school system that I pass the mantle of leadership to another generation of visionaries.”
Mussoline graduated from Bloomsburg University in 1979, received his Master of Education degree from Shippensburg University in 1983 and in 1998 earned a doctorate in educational administration from Penn State University.