Gildea gets school’s top job

HOLLIDAYSBURG – The excited talk among a group of Hollidaysburg Area teachers Tuesday evening was that they knew who the board was going to choose to replace 14-year Superintendent Paul Gallagher.

The board’s vote was unanimous during a special public meeting in the senior high school library; longtime school administrator Robert Gildea was given a three-year contract as superintendent.

Gildea, 45, will start July 1 at a salary of $115,000 for the 2013-14 school year. Possible raises of up to 2.1 percent to match state wage inflation are contracted for the second and third years.

Gildea is a lifelong Hollidaysburg resident who’s worked at the district for 23 years as teacher, coach, principal and athletic director. He added a doctorate degree and superintendent certification to his principal and teaching credentials in May 2011.

As superintendent, he believes he can give back to the community that developed him from his childhood.

“I am indebted to the Hollidaysburg Area community and can think of no better way to give back than to do so as the superintendent of schools for the Hollidaysburg Area School District,” he said. “I could never be in this position without the support of teachers, coaches, friends and community members who have blessed my life over the past 45 years.”

His employment in the district began in the 1990 as a fifth-grade teacher at Allegheny No. 1 Elementary. In 1993, he taught at Frankstown Elementary. He also served as assistant high school boys basketball coach for multiple years in the 1990s.

In 2000, he was selected to be full-time principal at Foot of Ten Elementary. And last year, he became the district’s cyber academy principal as well as assuming responsibilities of athletic director this January after Dean Rossi’s retirement.

Gildea’s role as athletic director was filled in April by Homer DeLattre, but a plan to transfer Glidea’s responsibilities as principal of the district’s recently established cyber academy has not been planned.

Board President Ron Yoder said Gildea will guide the board on three major personnel decisions: filling his former cyber academy role, hiring a successor to retiring senior high school principal Linda McCall and offering input on replacing retiring Assistant Superintendent Gary Robinson or eliminating the position.

Because of the district’s short- and long-term projected budgetary deficits, the board might choose not to replace Robinson, who is retiring at the end of this school year at a salary of $122,436.

Gildea takes the helm of the district in a difficult financial climate for schools statewide as well as a time of sweeping, nationwide curriculum changes.

Gallagher, whose last day as superintendent is June 30, said Gildea will be a good fit for the job.

“It’s a challenging time in education,” Gallagher said. “I think Dr. Gildea’s leadership skills will be a good fit for our school district.

“He is the type of person that can bring people together and that is what we need at this time.”

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.