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Chester County Press

Marchese named new Avon Grove superintendent

08/27/2013 07:34PM ● By Acl

By Steven Hoffman

Staff Writer

Dr. M. Christopher Marchese was named the new superintendent of schools in Avon Grove on Aug. 22.

The Avon Grove School Board approved a four-year contract for Marchese, beginning on Nov. 1, 2013 and ending on Oct. 31, 2017. The new superintendent will spend the next two months transitioning into the position. Current superintendent Dr. Gus Massaro is retiring when his contract expires on Oct. 31.

“Dr. Marchese’s qualifications and administrative experience proved to be an ideal fit for the profile of a superintendent for our district and our community,” said school board president Bonnie Wolff. “I liked his attention to detail. He has a curriculum background and I think he will be a good fit for the district. I think he has all the skills necessary to lead the district.”

The appointment of Marchese concludes a search that took more than six months.

“We had too many good candidates,” Wolff said of the search. “We had four rounds of interviews. With his experience and background, I think he’s going to be a real asset for the district.”

Marchese was in attendance with his wife and three children at the Aug. 22 meeting.

“I am so grateful and thrilled about being appointed superintendent,” he told the audience.  “This is truly an amazing opportunity.”

He said that he was interested in the position at Avon Grove because of the school district’s excellent reputation.

“Lots of things attracted me to Avon Grove. Avon Grove has a very strong reputation in Chester County and in the region as a premier school district,” Marchese said. “Anybody that I know who works or lives here just raves about it.”

He talked about how people in the community are very involved in the school district.

“It has a rich tradition of collaboration amongst various stakeholders that includes students, staff, the board, parents, and community members in delivering a high-quality educational program for all of its students. It’s quite clear that those who are affiliated with Avon Grove are proud of what the district provides for the students.”

Marchese currently serves as the assistant superintendent for the Wissahickon School District. He has a total of 15 years of experience in public education, working as a principal and vice principal, as well as an adjunct professor for four university graduate programs. Before working in public schools, Marchese was a teacher, department chair, and assistant principal in non-public schools.

Avon Grove School Board member Charles Beatty said that he was impressed by Marchese’s demeanor and his extensive experience.

“He has pretty much done all the jobs that a superintendent needs to do,” Beatty said. “We had four good candidates at the end of the search and you have to make a choice. I think we ended up with the best person for the job.”

Marchese said that he knew very early on that he wanted to be an administrator.

“I always knew that I wanted to be a school leader,” he said. “You can affect change and have more of an impact on students.”

He added that, as superintendent, “My goal is to provide the best educational experience for all students.”

The Avon Grove School Board began the search for a new superintendent in February. There were 29 people who applied for the position. Fourteen candidates were called in for the first round of interviews. Eight candidates took part in the second round. Four candidates advanced to the final round of interviews.

“We really want to thank our community for the patience and trust it demonstrated these last six months,” Wolff said. “We’ve worked hard to find the best candidate to meet our community’s expectations. We are delighted to welcome Dr. Marchese to Avon Grove.”

The new superintendent will have a salary of $191,000 during the first year of his contract.

He said that he wants to spend the next two months interacting with as many people as possible as he gets acquainted with the Avon Grove community. On Sept. 5, Marchese is set to visit the district’s schools and meet with staff and community members to discuss how he will address issues facing the district. He said that his goal is to build on the district's impressive accomplishments.

“There are a lot of good, solid practices in place here already. One major goal that I have for myself and for the Avon Grove School District is to continue to uphold the high standards of the district, and to use these standards in pursuit of ongoing excellence,” Marchese said.