NORTHERN CAMBRIA - After a two-month search, Northern Cambria School District has a new superintendent.
At a special meeting Aug. 11, the school board unanimously hired Joe Kimmel, 43, of Somerset County to lead the district.
He will replace district business manager Sam Kirk, who took over as interim superintendent after John Jubas retired in May, only to accept a position in Armstrong County the following month.
Kimmel last served as chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Somerset County but previously served as Chestnut Ridge's superintendent
Before that, he was a principal at Shade-Central City, an assistant principal at Ligonier Valley and a teacher at Conemaugh Township.
"I've been a teacher, adviser and coach and still hold that same mindset in these new positions," he said. "I'm trying to help make all those around me better and help utilize their expertise and skills to make the best organization possible."
Board member Delvin Lockard said there were close to 10 applicants for the position, including former education director Joy Tibbott, whose position was eliminated by a board vote in May.
The board previously hired former Everett Area School District principal Rebecca Pupo as high school principal, and Lockard said it's significant that recent administrative hires have come from outside the district.
It's always good to look out for your own people, he said, but with recent issues at the school and allegations of favoritism, it will be good to see some new faces.
"I think we can turn the school around," he said.
Kimmel said he's heard a little of the district's controversies, but said he'd rather focus on students.
"All I'm focused on is what's best for kids and not any auxiliary influences," he said. "All that stuff ... you just focus on what's best for the kids, and that makes the decisions easy at the end of the day."
Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.