NANTICOKE — Greater Nanticoke Area School Board appointed a new superintendent Tuesday: Northwest Area School District Superintendent Ronald Grevera. The board gave Grevera a five-year contract at a starting salary of $120,000.
Grevera said the Northwest Area board is aware of the move and that he will submit his resignation now that his appointment in Nanticoke is approved.
Grevera replaces Anthony Perrone, who resigned abruptly as superintendent Jan. 28 after 17 years on the job, including working without pay since 2003.
The departure from Northwest Area, where he was made superintendent in 2011, was not made lightly, Grevera said after the meeting. “I’ve been crying all weekend,” he said.
But he felt the move was a “good opportunity to work the new faces and staff here, to increase student achievement.” Grevera will be moving from Luzerne County’s most rural district with the smallest enrollment, about 1,200 students, to one with roughly double that count occupying one of the county’s four cities. He said the salary offer at GNA is about $20,000 more than he is currently paid at Northwest Area.
Board President Ryan Verazin said the board received 14 applicants, including one from within the district and five total from the area. Three women applied and two were offered interviews, but one didn’t show up, he said.
Verazin will get the same health insurance benefits provided to other administrators in a five-year deal that requires they start paying part of the premium, 1.5 percent, in 2015-16, Verazin said.
Grevera was the top choice in a strong field of candidates “because his background really suits us,” Verazin said, citing improved student outcomes “wherever he has worked.”
Perrone, who had been with the district more than 40 years, cited health problems as one reason for his unexpected departure.
Generally credited with helping steer the district back from the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1990s, Perrone was originally from Pittston and graduated from King’s College in 1963. By 1966, he had a full-time teaching job in Greater Nanticoke Area.
He became superintendent in 1996 and retired in 2003, but agreed to stay in the post, unpaid, for at least a year.
Asked at the time why he decided to stay without pay, Perrone quoted poet Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”: “I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”
The School Board appointed Elementary Principal Maryellen Scott as interim superintendent until the search for a permanent replacement was completed. She will return to that position at the end of July, when Grevera officially moves in.
Grevera, who grew up in Edwardsville, and earned degrees from Wilkes University, Marywood University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is 40 and remains the youngest superintendent in Luzerne County, a title he took when by landing the job at Northwest at the age of 38.