North Star adds new board member, principal and teacher

August 2, 2018

The North Star school board has made several leadership changes as it prepares for the 2018-19 school year.

Board members named Zachary Vena as the new middle school principal with a salary of $65,000 a year. Vena was an eighth-grade civics teacher at North Star, as well as an assistant coach for the varsity football and baseball teams.

Superintendent Louis Lepley described Vena as “a really nice, respectful young man.”

“He brings his own positives and enthusiasm to the table,” he said.

Vena replaces former Principal Cheryl Slade, who resigned in May. Slade is now manager for the Somerset Area Ambulance Association.

Chad Kaltenbaugh resigned his seat on the board in June to become the new high school business education teacher, making $49,363 a year. Kaltenbaugh was appointed to the board in May 2017.

Lepley said the district had been running ads for a new business teacher but didn’t receive any qualified candidates. Kaltenbaugh was a business teacher at the State Correctional Institution at Somerset.

“Someone had approached him and I guess talked him into it,” he said.

Board members chose Kathy Shaffer, from Hooversville, to take Kaltenbaugh’s seat in Region 3, which includes Stoystown, Hooversville and Quemahoning Township. Shaffer is a retired North Star teacher who was still running the district musicals.

“She had a couple students and local community members who came and said why they thought she was a good fit,” Lepley said.

Lepley added that he thinks Shaffer will be a strong addition to the board.

“Anybody who knows Kathy knows how much she loves the school district that she worked in for years,” he said.

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