Chartiers Valley’s school directors voted unanimously last night to hire Dr. Johannah Vanatta as the district’s next superintendent.
Currently the assistant superintendent at McGuffey, Vanatta will begin working at Chartiers Valley on April 1 at a salary of $160,000 per year.
School board president Tony Mazzarini praised Vanatta’s leadership experience, passion for students, and understanding of the education in the region.
“The board is thrilled to have landed Dr. Vanatta,” he said. “[She] is an excellent fit for Chartiers Valley.”
During the interview process, as Chartiers Valley officials gathered information about Vanatta’s background, one of her former school directors said that, “She may be the finest person I have ever worked with in an educational setting.”
Vanatta attended West Virginia University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in secondary education. She has a doctorate in education from Pitt.
Though she currently lives in Washington County, she plans on enrolling her children at Chartiers Valley.
The full text of Chartiers Valley’s press release is below:
Shortly after 6:00 PM at a special meeting in the Middle School Commons, the Chartiers Valley Board of School Directors appointed Johannah Vanatta, Ed.D. as the district’s next superintendent. Dr. Vanatta will begin leading the district on April 1, 2018.
Dr. Vanatta received her bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in secondary education from West Virginia University. From there, she obtained a principal’s certification from California University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Vanatta rounded out her academic career by obtaining a superintendent’s letter of eligibility and a doctorate in education from the University of Pittsburgh. “I am ready to open the next chapter in my career and lead a high quality district like Chartiers Valley. Through this process, I have had the opportunity to interact with Board members, and knowing several staff members in the district, I look forward to working closely with the administrators, teachers, staff, board members and the community as we create a compelling future for the students of the district,” Vanatta said.
Dr. Vanatta currently serves as the assistant superintendent in the McGuffey School District. Prior to her current assignment, she worked as the assistant superintendent in the North Hills School District and a building administrator. Dr. Vanatta began her teaching career as a teacher of English and History in the Trinity, Washington and Jefferson-Morgan school districts, and performed administrative internships at Jefferson-Morgan and Upper St. Clair.
“The Board is thrilled to have landed Dr. Vanatta and we are very excited to bring her into the district,” Board President Anthony Mazzarini said. “With her various experiences as an educator and leader, a demonstrated passion for students, and a thorough understanding of our region, we believe Dr. Vanatta is an excellent fit for Chartiers Valley. We also recognize that Allegheny County has a vibrant educational culture that presents Dr. Vanatta with an opportunity to thrive by working closely with other educational leaders and policy makers throughout the region. Furthermore, Dr. Vanatta has already demonstrated a significant commitment to the district by agreeing to make a contribution to the CV Education Foundation,” Mazzarini added.
Shortly after Dr. Vanatta arrives, she will be embarking on a comprehensive entry plan that will immediately allow her to become immersed in the district, and position her to develop a thoughtful, ambitious course of continued growth and improvement in the district.
The Board is very confident she will partner with the entire school community to bring the right balance of fidelity of current program implementation with creative approaches to developing new initiatives. Furthermore, Dr. Vanatta will be continuing to lead the district through all the logistics of the existing building project. The Board and the entire school community expects the new facilities to be a key element for students to experience a top-flight education as Chartiers Valley strives to become among the best districts in the region in the coming years.
As the Board continues to affirm the spirit of the district — Inspiring Excellence – it is expected that Dr. Vanatta will work closely with district leaders to bring a renewed approach to strategic and comprehensive planning, and as a result strengthen the district’s commitment to lifelong learning, diversity, robust programming, organizational morale, and fiscal stability. “We have many projects and initiatives underway in Chartiers Valley, and we have our staff, faculty and administrators to thank for their dedication to the students of Chartiers Valley– and for managing all of these ongoing efforts. We expect Dr. Vanatta to be a force of optimism, educational excellence and a passionate advocate for students and public education. She also brings boundless energy and an engaging persona to the district,” Mazzarini said.
“We also want to express our deepest appreciation to Mr. Scott Seltzer. Since his appointment as interim superintendent, he has earned our highest accolades for serving so effectively. Mr. Seltzer is a valued member of the Chartiers Valley team and we anticipate he will have an outstanding working relationship with Dr. Vanatta,” Mazzarini said.
The Board wants to thank everyone who participated in the focus group discussions and completed a survey as part of the search process, and wishes to reinforce the message that the development of district goals and the superintendent evaluation process will be significantly informed by the comments we received from stakeholders. The next step will be for the Board and Dr. Vanatta to continue working on a comprehensive entry plan, superintendent evaluation process, and other strategic governance procedures utilizing some of the thinking of the best practitioners in leadership and governance.
Dr. Vanatta Biography
Prior to joining the Chartiers Valley School District Dr. Johannah Vanatta served as an educator in administrative capacities since 2007; as Assistant Superintendent within the McGuffey and the North Hills School District, and as a building level administrator within the North Hills School District. Prior to serving in educational administration she taught middle and high school students in the contents of English and history.
Dr. Vanatta earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from West Virginia University, Masters of Arts in Secondary Education with an emphasis in English also from West Virginia University, and K-12 Principal Certification from California University of Pennsylvania. She earned her Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility from University of Pittsburgh where she also completed her completed doctorate in education. Dr. Vanatta’s dissertation is entitled “Going from Good to Great, A Study of Teacher Induction Programs.”
During her tenure as Assistant Superintendent for North Hills School District she re-envisioned the secondary schools creating true middle school and high school model from a junior and senior high school model. Dr. Vanatta was an integral component to the re-envisioning of the middle school building and high school library, transforming both buildings with state-of-the-art technology infrastructure, STEAM centers, fitness areas, and collaborative spaces. She instituted researched based curriculum and teaching methods in Reading and Math and a Project Based Learning within middle school trimester courses.
Under Dr. Vanatta’s leadership, North Hills School District was able to emerge and has received recognition for their educational programs. In 2017, The Pittsburgh Business Times ranked North Hills School District #13 out of 105 western Pennsylvania school districts and #38 out of all Pennsylvania districts according the Niche 2018 Best Schools rankings. North Hills School District also has been named a “Best Community for Music Education” by the nationally-recognized NAMM Foundation in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The high school has been awarded an Excellence by Design accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools. The noted commission also named North Hills High School’s music department a Program of Distinction; one of only six music programs in the nation to be honored with this notable accolade.
In 2015 the North Hills Middle School was named a “School to Watch.” Approximately 380 schools out of more than 11,700 middle schools nationwide hold the designation, and North Hills is one of only 35 schools in Pennsylvania to be recognized in the noted program. In this year’s Pennsylvania School Performance Profile, North Hills Middle School made a 15-point gain in its score making it one of the highest-achieving middle schools in Allegheny County.
Most recently the Middle school recently was honored by Apple with the Apple Distinguished Schools accreditation. “Apple Distinguished Schools are centers of leadership and educational excellence that demonstrate Apple’s vision for learning with technology—and we believe they are some of the most innovative schools in the world. “
Dr. Vanatta sits on a variety of post-secondary advisory boards, such as LaRoche College, Chatham University’s Board for Sustainability, serves as an adjunct professor in various capacities, and presents at various professional conferences.
Dr. Vanatta maintains her professional affiliation with several organizations that include the American Middle Level Educators Association, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the Pennsylvania Association Secondary Schools.