students return to school in just more than two weeks, however staff and new hires have been hard at work training and organizing for the upcoming 2012-13 school year.
A new director of staff development is joining the administrative team. Meet Dr. Mara Linaberger.
Responsible for staff development, assessment and technology-integration in the district, she’ll be working closely with Superintendent and, of course, —assistant to the superintendent.
“Our two jobs mesh in many places,” she said. “Curriculum writing, alignment and revision are a big part of ongoing professional development activities in a district.”
Originally from Penn Hills, Linaberger taught for 17 years in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Chatham University, her Master of Arts in teaching from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in instructional technology from Duquesne University.
Currently, she’s working on her Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility at California University of Pennsylvania.
“My early teacher training was in arts and technology integration, which have been strong foundations for the work I’ve done in the past few years,” she said.
For the last four and a half years, she worked for Intermediate Unit One as a curriculum specialist. She led grant writing and programmatic work in the areas of arts integration, arts education and technology integration.
Her job entailed working with the 25 school districts in Washington, Greene and Fayette counties, including Peters.
“That’s a big part of why I came to Peters,” she said. “I had served this district and worked with Dr. Zetty and various administrators. Peters is the highest performing district in the IU1 service area, which made this an interesting professional challenge. The district’s commitment to the arts and technology for students truly matched my skill sets and interests. I was excited to see how we might collaborate to continue to build upon the district’s tradition of excellence.”
The Sewickley resident just finished a retreat with the district’s leadership team, an intense series of meetings as the district plans for the new year.
“Peters has an exceptional group of principals and vice principals,” Linaberger said. “I’m looking forward to meeting all the other staff as well. We will be working on continuing to build professional learning communities within the buildings.
“Learning communities have teachers functioning in method similar to how we would like to see students learning. Globally, we are moving away from an industrial model of education toward more project-based and collaborative learning. As a district, we will encourage community-building activities in each school, tailored to how the building functions, its unique vision and mission. We’ll also be looking closely the specific learning needs of each student."
In her spare time, Linaberger enjoys hiking, being outdoors and creating mosaic stained glass.