• 2008-2009...

    PRHS Earns Silver in Annual Ranking Report

    Pine-Richland High School is only one of 20 schools out of 670 high schools in Pennsylvania to earn a silver ranking in the U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of best public high schools in America.

    "This recognition helps us achieve our vision of becoming a recognized leader in education," said Dr. James C. Manley, PRSD superintendent.

    Locally, Pine-Richland High School joins nine other high schools in the region including: Fox Chapel, Hampton, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny, Pittsburgh Allderdice, Upper St. Clair, Peters Township and Franklin Regional to earn this distinction.

    Julia Masterman High School in Philadelphia was the only PA school to receive a gold ranking.

    Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., was named top school in the nation.

    School Evaluation Services developed the criteria for determining in the ratings. More than 21,000 public high schools in 48 states were analyzed by using data from the 2006-2007 school year. Schools were critiqued on how well students are prepared for college-level work, which was determined by looking at Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate test data. In addition, evaluators took a look at how all students were served, which was measured by state proficiency standards.

    Pine-Richland Middle School Student Recognized by State

    Pine-Richland Middle School eighth grader Nate Roberts was recognized at the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils State Conference in Gettysburg. Roberts was awarded the Dale Hawley Award for outstanding student leadership at the middle school level after his participation in the PASC Blue Summer Workshop at Grove City College. Roberts was honored at the state conference the weekend of Nov. 15, 2008. The mission of PASC is to offer year-round opportunities to students at the middle and high school levels in Pennsylvania to help them develop and apply leadership and life skills.

    Student Weighs in on National Security

    Students across the country are weighing in on National Security. Pine-Richland High School junior Ryan Wirth was one of those students. He was selected to take part in a National Security Forum in Washington, DC this fall through the National Youth Leadership Forum on National Security: Exploring American Democracy, Intelligence and Defense. The six-day program introduced students to challenging careers in defense, intelligence, the diplomatic corps and more.

    Teachers Dave Supinski and Fred Mazur recommended Wirth for this prestigious program that took place the week of Oct. 13, 2008.

    At the forum, Wirth participated in a national security strategy exercise. He learned the basics of national security strategy and analysis. Wirth attended one of three career exploration panels featuring leaders from the defense, intelligence and diplomatic communities. Wirth also had a chance to visit the Capitol building, the Library of Congress, the House and Senate office buildings and the Supreme Court. These locations provided him with a physical backdrop for the matters of national security strategy.

    Wirth would like to prepare for a career in police work after graduation.


    HARRISBURG (For Immediate Release) –The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators is naming Pine-Richland School District Superintendent James Manley, Ph.D., as the 2009 PA Superintendent of the Year.

    The National Superintendent of the Year Program was instituted 22 years ago by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) to honor outstanding public school superintendents.

    The goal of the prestigious awards program, which is co-sponsored by ARAMARK Education and AASA, is to further inspire exemplary educational leadership and promote a sense of confidence and pride in the nation's public schools.

    "I am so proud to represent Pine-Richland," said Dr. Manley. "I am surrounded by highly qualified staff, teachers and school board members. They are the ones that make the difference. This award would not be possible, if we did not have students who were so conscientious and focused and parents who partner with us on a daily basis to provide the best environment possible for our students. This award is a reflection of the hard work of all those who surround me. For that I am grateful."

    The Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year is selected by a PASA panel of school administrators and nominees are evaluated on how each candidate demonstrates:
    · Leadership for Learning – creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in the school system
    · Communication Skills – strength in both personal and organizational communication
    · Professionalism – constant improvement of administrative knowledge and skills, while providing professional development opportunities and motivation to others on the educational team
    · Community Involvement – active participation in local community activities and understanding of regional, national and international issues

    Dr. Manley has been superintendent in the Pine-Richland School District since 2000. He has served as a school administrator since 1971 in Pennsylvania, as superintendent in the Northgate School District (1982-2000), assistant superintendent at Northgate (1976-1982) and coordinator of pupil services in the North Allegheny School District (1971-1976).

    He serves as chairman of the PASA Membership Committee and serves on the PASA Cabinet and the PASA Board of Governors. Dr. Manley also is an Executive Board Committee member of the Tri-State Area School Study Council at the University of Pittsburgh, is chairman of the Management Committee for Allegheny County Superintendents, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Western Pennsylvania Forum for Superintendents.

    Nominators describe Manley as someone with a great passion for education. "He allows this passion to direct him, as he leads other educators and staff members," one stated. "His passion and his vision for education are outlined in his 'Transformation Blueprint,' which serves as a guide to ensure a personalized learning environment for all children as they engage in rigorous academic mastery of high standards for lasting success that is sustainable over time."

    As the Pennsylvania honoree, Dr. Manley is a candidate among other state winners for National Superintendent of the Year, to be announced at the AASA convention on February 20, 2009 in San Francisco.

    Most recently, the district honored Dr. Manley at the Eden Hall Upper Elementary Dedication program by naming the media center after him.

    PR School Board to Remember Former Administrator
    The Pine-Richland School Board will honor the late Dr. John M. Blahut with a moment of silence, during the Pine-Richland School Board Planning Meeting on Nov. 11, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. Blahut, 71, passed away, after a battle with Acute Leukemia.

    The Central Blood Bank is holding a replenishment blood drive in his name 1-7 p.m. Nov. 17, 2008 at the Richland EMS Center, 4009 Dickey Rd. in Gibsonia. Click here for specific details.

    Dr. Blahut retired in 1992 from the Pine-Richland School District after nearly 30 years of service.

    He served as assistant to the superintendent, as director of curriculum and instruction and as a guidance counselor. Friends will be received 3-4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008 at the Glenn-Kildoo Funeral Home, 130 Wisconsin Ave. in Cranberry Township. A memorial service will follow at 4 p.m.

    In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Good Samaritan Hospice, 3500 Brooktree Rd., Suite 320 in Wexford, PA 15090 or to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at 2 Gateway Center, 13 North, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

     PR Administrator Earns PASCD State Award

    The Pennsylvania Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development is honoring Dr. Bille Rondinelli, assistant superintendent/secondary of Pine-Richland School District, with the prestigious 2008 PASCD Supervision and Curriculum Development Award.

    This award recognizes a PASCD member who has made significant contribution in the area of supervision and/or curriculum development.

    "I am honored to be selected as the 2008 recipient of the respected PASCD award because it truly reflects team accomplishments and work over time," said Rondinelli. "It is a privilege to work in Pine-Richland with Superintendent Dr. James Manley, the Board of Education, staff and community members who are collaborative educational partners and embrace a 'Learning Community' approach. I will always appreciate and cherish this award; however, I also know that it is our collective work that made it possible."

    Dr. Rondinelli will be recognized during the PASCD 58th Annual Conference Banquet to be held November 23, 2008 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, which is being held from 6-8:30 p.m.

    Most recently, Dr. Rondinelli earned acceptance into Leadership Pittsburgh XXV. Through Leadership Pittsburgh, she has earned an Educational Leaders Fellowship with the Grable Foundation. She will have the opportunity to study, propose innovative solutions and network with other established community leaders.

    On Sept. 28, 2007, Westminster College awarded her with an "Alumni Citation". She was one of only five in 2007 to receive the award, which recognizes alumni who achieve significant accomplishments in his/her profession.

    Dr. Rondinelli joined PRSD on July 1, 2007. Prior, she served as assistant superintendent and as the curriculum director K-12 in the Moon Area School District.

    She earned a Doctor of Education and Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Education and a Bachelor of Arts from Westminster College.
    PR School Board Appoints New Principal at Wexford Elementary School

    The Pine-Richland School District would like to welcome Rick A. Walsh to the district. The school board appointed Walsh as the new principal of Wexford Elementary School. Walsh served as a principal at Trinity East Elementary School in the Trinity School District in Washington County and previously was an assistant principal at Claysville Elementary and middle school in the McGuffey School District.  He will replace Dr. Yvonne Hawkins, who left to take a position at Chartiers Valley School District as director of instruction and curriculum. Walsh’s start date is being determined. In the meantime, Dr. Patricia Dunkis will continue serving as interim principal at Wexford Elementary.

    National Merit Scholarship Corporation Honors Six PRHS Students
    The National Merit Scholarship Corporation is honoring six students in its 2008-2009 program. Pine-Richland High School senior Mark Beatty was named a "Semifinalist" and PRHS seniors Daniel Bauer, William Cenk, Jacob Dowling, Meghan Marks and William Miller were named "Commended" students.

    Beatty makes up about 16,000 "Semifinalists" in the National Merit Scholarship. He will compete for about 8,200 National Merit Scholarships, worth a total of more than $35 million.

    In the next step, about 90 percent will become "Finalists" based on applications, including their academic records, recommendation from a high school principal and SAT scores that are consistent with their PSAT performance.

    To become a "Finalist", a "Semifinalist" must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test. The "Semifinalist" and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student's self-descriptive essay and information about the "Semifinalist's" participation and leadership in school and community activities.

    "Commended" students make up of 34,000 high performers across the United States. "Commended" and "Semifinalists" are chosen based on their performance on the PSAT/NMSQT exam, taken by 1.5 million high school juniors in more than 21,000 high schools last school year. The number of winners is proportional to each state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

    Two Lacrosse Players Earn All-American Status
    Two Pine-Richland High School lacrosse players are earning top accolades. 2008 PRHS graduate Evan Malchano earned US Lacrosse All-American status for 2008 season. 2008 PRHS graduate Ryan Nelson earned US Lacrosse Academic All-American status for 2008 season. These are the highest level awards given to high-school lacrosse players. These players are the first at Pine-Richland to garner these recognitions. Congratulations to Lacrosse Head Coach Dan Soper and his assistant coaches.

    PR Swimmer Receives All-American Status

    Pine-Richland High School senior Caitlin Molloy received 2007-08 All-American Status in Swimming for her performance in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:02.38.  Molly received a certificate recognizing her All-American status. Recently, she was nominated as a Tribune-Review Young Achiever. She is a junior representative for Allegheny Mountain Swimming and placed at the WPIAL and PIAA Championships in the 200 and 500 freestyles. She is a volunteer counselor for Together for Retarded Youth and teaches young swimmers. Congratulations to Molloy, her family and swimming coaches.

    PRHS Earns Four Gene Kelly Awards

     The cast, crew and orchestra of Pine-Richland High School’s (PRHS) production of “Seussical the Musical” earned four Gene Kelly Awards. 

    Presenters announced the awards during the annual CLO Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Programs on May 24, 2008 at the Benedum in Downtown Pittsburgh. 

    PRHS earned Best Musical/Budget III, Best Ensemble and Best Costume Design awards.  In addition, Cody Hoellerman earned a Best Actor award for his portrayal of the “Cat in the Hat”. This is the school’s third Best Musical Award and fourth Best Musical Award out of the past five years.   

    In all, PRHS received 11 nominations in this year’s program. In addition to Best Musical/Budget III, Best Ensemble, Best Costume Design and Best Actor nominations, PRHS earned nominations for best: Set Design, Lighting Design,Costume Design, Orchestra Direction, Choreography, Actress/ Lauren Gigliotti (Gertrude) and Best Supporting Actress/Arielle Katcher (Mayzie). 

    PRHS graduate and Musical Director Tim Marquette, who took over for retiring Lou Valenzi, was pleased by this year’s nominations and awards.“We are so proud of all the hard work the kids put into the musical this year,” said Marquette. “We are so honored for the chance to have the kids featured in a performance on the stage of the Benedum.”

    Musical Producer Carole Rost said she got to see several really terrific high school musicals this year, so she was especially proud that PRHS was acknowledged in so many areas.

    “We are very pleased that so many students from all areas of the musical were recognized,” said Rost.
    PA Governor’s Schools of Excellence Select Six PRHS Students to Participate in 2008 Program & Name Two Alternates

     The Pennsylvania Governor’s Schools of Excellence is announcing that it selected six Pine-Richland High (PRHS) school students to participate in its 2008 program. Two additional students from PRHS are being named alternates. 

    A state tradition spanning more than three decades, the Governor’s Schools of Excellence are a comprehensive set of residential summer programs held on college campuses.  Admission to the programs is highly competitive.  This year, 3,736 applicants vied for 788 positions in the programs. 

    Students are selected on the meritorious basis of their artistic or academic talent as demonstrated through their applications.

    Here’s a look at which PRHS students were selected and their respective placement.

    Emily Wobb             
    Holly Belkot                   
    Patrice Zigrossi              
    William Miller          
    Alexis Gutshall
    Hannah Staiger        

    Alisssa Kasunich           
    Joseph Paulina          

    Governor’s Schools involve participants in challenging, intensive and experiential activities that are closely mentored by professionals in each field. Graduates of the programs are encouraged to share their talents in their local communities through service leadership.

    PR Honors 14 Retirees
    The Pine-Richland School Board honored 14 retires at its board meeting on May 20, 2008.

    2008 retirees include: PR Payroll Specialist Linda Altany, Pine-Richland High (PRHS) receptionist Darlene Adams, English teacher Jeanne Dutel, Pine-Richland Middle School (PRMS) reading teacher James Hoofnagle, PRMS Custodial Employee Alfred Means, Hance Elementary physical education teacher John Fotta, Hance second grade teacher Anne Haught, Hance custodial employees Peg Honan and Loraine Pierce, Hance para-educator Nancy Jeffries, second grade teacher Cheryl Raymer, Hance learning support teacher Michelle Simonovitch, Richland Elementary second grade teacher Evelyn Booth and Richland Elementary para-educator Margaret Jeffress.

    The board recognized each retiree and presented them a special gift.
    TEC Names Two Pine-Richland Teachers Honorees, Two to Hall of Fame

    The Teacher Excellence Center honored more than a 100 teachers in its annual awards program held at the Carnegie Music Hall this year on April 24, 2008. Congratulations to Hance Elementary teachers Anne Haught and Shelley Byers for being named to the 2008 Hall of Fame and PRHS teacher Tom Joyce and Hance Elementary teacher Donna Faux for being named honorees in this year’s program. In all, 91 teachers in the PRSD were nominated. The teachers were escorted on stage by Dr. James C. Manley, PR superintendent. Teachers may be recognized as Honorees for a maximum of two times. If they score in the top 100 a third time, they will be placed into a “Hall of Fame” but will not be deemed as an Honoree for that year.

    During this year’s program, 92 teachers from Pine-Richland earned nominations in the awards program.

    Principal Earns Library Advocate of the Year Award

    The Western Pennsylvania Librarians Association (WPSLA) awarded Pine-Richland Middle School (PRMS) Principal Dr. Kathleen Harrington with the WPSLA Advocate of the Year Award.

    WPSLA President Gabriella Miller, a librarian at Quaker Valley School District (QVSD), along with past presidents Kathy Batykefer, PRMS librarian, and Rich Hollein, QVSD librarian, presented Dr. Harrington with the prestigious award at the Pine-Richland School Board meeting on May 20, 2008.

    The purpose of the award is to recognize a school advocate whose support has maintained an exemplary library program, whose efforts have improved an existing program, or who has initiated a program where none existed. 

    Some of the criteria include facilities improvement and support of provisional development opportunities for librarians. The award recognizes those outside the library profession who play a critical role in the success of school library programs. The advocate must be nominated by a WSPLA member.

    “I want to thank the Western PA School Librarians Association for this amazing honor and especially Kathy Batykefer for nominating me,” Dr. Harrington said. “As a former reading teacher, I cannot think of an honor that I could cherish more than this. The importance of reading and technology that are emphasized and taught everyday through our library and librarians like Mrs. Batykefer are to be applauded. Reading is power. Books are Magic. Librarians like Mrs. Batykefer bring that world of adventure and magic everyday to our children.”

    Pine-Richland Crew Places Nationally

    The Pine-Richland High School Women’s Junior 4+ Rowing Team placed 10 th overall and the women’s junior 2x team placed 12 th overall in the Scholastic Rowing Association of America’s National Championship Regatta in Oakridge, TN May 23 and May 24, 2008.

    Crew Head Coach Florin Curuea says this event is the highest accomplishment attainable by a high school rowing team. There were 23 teams from six other regions across the country that also qualified and competed.

    “In its six years as a program, the Pine-Richland Crew has never competed at such a level, which goes to show the team's vast improvement achieved in just a short six months time,” Curuea said.

    On May 10, 2008, the Pine-Richland Crew competed in the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Championships against 29 other high school scholastic rowing programs from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Western Pennsylvania. The PRHS Women's Junior 4+ was successful in placing fourth overall which qualified the team to compete at the national championships. The PRHS women's 2x also qualified and competed against 12 other high school teams.

    Rowers include: Stephanie Zang, Kate Jeffrey, Ashley Wright, Maureen Hilton, Liz Young, Rachel Hilton and Lora DeVenzio.

    Hall of Fame Inductees Announced at 50th Celebration Graduate Offers Arts Award

    The Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund (PROF) awarded three Hall of Fame awards during the district’s 50 th celebration.

    PROF president Don Foster awarded 1976 Richland High School graduate Jeff Calhoun, 1997 Pine-Richland High School graduate Jonathan Passavant and former Pine Elementary student Martin McKinney with Hall of Fame Awards on March 26, 2008 at Pine-Richland High School.

    1986 Richland High graduate Stephen Frick was the first graduate to be inducted in 2002 into the Hall of Fame. For a look at the Hall of Fame inductees, click here.

    During the celebration, Calhoun announced that he would sponsor a $5,000 arts award each year to a deserving senior pursuing a career or degree in theater arts.

    PRHS Varsity Cheerleaders Place Seventh in National Competition

    The Pine-Richland High School Varsity cheerleaders earned seventh place at the United Cheerleading Association’s National Competition held at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., February 7 – February 12, 2008.

    The team qualified for participation in nationals, during a regional competition at Slippery Rock University.  The girls made it to the semi-finals, along with 48 other teams. Coach Daniella DeRenzo said the squad performed a flawless routine making it to the final round, along with 24 other teams. The PR squad placed seventh in the nation.

    “This is the first time in Pine-Richland history that the cheerleaders made it to the finals and ranked in the top 10 teams in the nation,” DeRenzo said. 

    Winning squad members include: freshmen cheerleaders Natalie Cunningham, Ashley Henley, Stephanie Kamenicky, Kim Rossi and Erin Wise, sophomore cheerleader Rachelle Roberts, junior class cheerleaders Emma Holmes, Alexis Meyer, Alicia McDonald, Jordan Sender and senior cheerleaders Julie Banyas, Caitlin Brunner, Chelsea Crawford, Casey Garrow, Emily Hitechew, Alyssa McAnney, Shannon McGorry, Lauren Roberts, Jackie Schindler and Kara Sloniger and winning coaches include Danielle Hitson and Daniella DeRenzo.

    PROF Announces Four New Trustees Join Foundation


    (Gibsonia, PA) The Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund (PROF) is pleased to announce that four new trustees are joining the board.


    The board officially welcomed new trustees Sally Beatty, Hank Compernolle, Paul Hightower and Beth Montgomery to serve on PROF, which was established in 1994.  


    Beatty, Compernolle and Hightower joined the board at its meeting on January 14, 2008 and Montgomery joined the board on November 12, 2007.


    The trustees are replacing retiring trustees Harry Crytzer, Dan Koller, Kwaj Overton and Gail Simpson. Simpson most recently served as president. Don Foster took over that role after Simpson’s retirement.


    “We’re sorry to have to say goodbye to four quality trustees,” said Co-Executive Director Rachel Hathhorn. “They were integral to the foundation. We hope to have them work with PROF on projects in the future.  We look forward to having the four new trustees serve with us. Their backgrounds will prove to be a great asset.”


    The new trustees bring experience from many different areas. Their background includes:

    • Beatty, who is currently serving as president of Write-Click Solutions, LLC, in Wexford, has an extensive background in grant research and grant writing. Prior she served as a business system consultant in Mellon Trust and a Business Project Manager for Mellon Bank. She has children who attend school at the secondary level at PRSD.
    • Compernolle is president and founder of Universal Solutions Group, an innovative telecommunications management company. Compernolle was a founding partner in 1995 and Vice President of North America Telecommunications Corporation.  Hank serves on the 3 Rivers Connect Board of Directors and has a passion for community involvement participating in a variety of non-profit events. Compernolle has four children, three who attend elementary school at PRSD.
    • Hightower is serving as the assistant director of athletics at Duquesne University where he assists in hiring and preparing and monitoring budgets for the entire department. He has been serving in that capacity for nearly 18 years. Prior, he served as director of academic services for student athletes and as NCAA compliance coordinator for St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He has a daughter at the secondary level.
    • Montgomery, who is a 1969 Richland High School graduate, has a background in education. She served as a sixth grade teacher at Wexford Elementary School from 1973 to 1979 and served as a substitute from 1991 to 1996.  She served as director of Children’s Ministries at North Park Evangelical Presbyterian Church for six years. Montgomery’s three children are graduates of PRHS.

    The 2008 PROF Board is made up of: President Don Foster, Vice President Michael Young, Treasurer Larry Schuster and Secretary Cindy Dillen. Voting trustees include: Sally Beatty, Hank Compernolle, Thomas Doaty, Barbara Freitag, Leo Gensante, Liz Gensante, Paul Hightower, Linda Honeywill, David Lemley, Beth Montgomery, Janet Rader and Patti Sinetar.

    Study Council Awards PR Superintendent with Distinguished Educator Award

    The University of Pittsburgh’s Tri-State Area School Study Council awarded Dr. James C. Manley, Pine-Richland School District superintendent, with the 2007 Distinguished Educator Award on December 18, 2007.

    The Tri-State Area Study Council established the Distinguished Educator Award in 1981 to acknowledge exceptional leadership by practicing administrators, retired educators and university faculty who have demonstrated a commitment to the mission of the council.

    Dr. Diane Kirk, interim Tri-State Study Council co-director, presented the award to Dr. Manley at the 60 th Annual School Board Banquet at the Edgewood Country Club in Pittsburgh.

    “It’s my honor to present the Tri-State Distinguished Educator Award to Dr. James Manley,” Kirk said. “He’s an excellent role model for future leaders in education. I cannot think of anyone more deserving.”

    Dr. Manley, who spent 36 years serving a member of the Tri-State Study Council and is serving on the executive committee, accepted the award.

    “It’s easy to be a distinguished educator when you come from a district like Pine-Richland School District, which exhibits the spirit of teamwork,” Dr. Manley said upon accepting the award. “It’s a great time to be an educator as we personalize education. I appreciate this and will always cherish this award.”

    The awards review committee says one of Dr. Manley’s strongest contributions to young people is his initiative with the Northern Area Alliance Against Highly Addictive Drugs. He has taken a proactive stance when it comes to helping young people make good decisions.

    In way of education, Dr. Manley initiated the PR Pre-AP program, which is giving eighth and ninth graders a competitive edge as they delve into rigorous coursework. This Pre-AP program at PRSD is receiving notoriety in the surrounding schools in Allegheny County for being the first of its kind.

    The Tri-State Study Council commended Dr. Manley’s work on the “Transformation Blueprint,” which provides a shared vision for the school district and sets the educational course for Pine-Richland School District for the next several years.

    He has the record for having the longest tenure as a superintendent in Allegheny County.
    Dr. Manley earned a doctorate of philosophy in educational administration from the University of Pittsburgh. He earned a master’s degree in counselor education and a bachelor’s of science degree with certification in secondary education from the University of Dayton.

    In addition, the district was proud to have the Pine-Richland High School Women’s Ensemble sing several holiday songs, under the direction of PRHS Choral Director Lee Rickard.