New superintendent a familiar face to SASD

New superintendent a familiar face to SASD

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New superintendent a familiar face to SASD

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Mr. Sean Aiken

 

After the news broke that former superintendent Dr. Wesley Shipley accepted a position at Mars Area School District, Shaler Area started to scramble to find the perfect candidate to be the next superintendent. In November, the puzzle pieces were complete with the hiring of Mr. Sean Aiken.

Aiken is not a stranger to Shaler Area or the administrative scene. He was an assistant principal at Shaler Area Middle School before leaving to take a position at Quaker Valley and eventually another at West Allegheny. However, Aiken had a feeling he would end up back at Shaler Area.

“I love the heart of this community. I feel like it’s a strong community where there is so much pride and tradition. It felt really special when I was here before. This is a great place and I feel like we can accomplish great things together,” Aiken said.

During the interviewing process, Aiken presented a 60-day plan which he has already begun to implement. It focuses mainly on connecting with people throughout the school district. Aiken wants to build and structure systems in an efficient way, get out into the classroom to see students, meet parents on a regular basis, and have one-to-one discussions with the school board and other administrators in his first two months in the position.

Being a superintendent is a heavily scrutinized title that many people have misconceptions of. Aiken claims that being the superintendent of a school is similar to being a CEO and an instructional leader of a school district. Not only is working with the school board extremely important, he also tries to connect the community to communicate what is going on and act as that leadership figure.

His top priorities include equal challenges for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade, having a continuous growth mindset, operational efficiency, and fiscal responsibility throughout his career here.

Aiken’s focus is always on the students of the school district. So much so, there is a metaphor he uses to constantly remind him of who the decisions he makes.

“I have a compass that sits on my desk. The compass is a reminder of why we do what we do. The compass is a metaphor, it points in the direction towards the students. How does every decision that we make affect the students?” Aiken said.

Aside from being the role of superintendent at Shaler Area, Aiken also plays an important role once his business day ends. Aiken is the proud father of five children with ages ranging from 4 to 18. Due to this, Aiken feels he relates to the parents of the students at Shaler Area.

“I think that parents have always appreciated that I do have kids because I think they know that I’ve walked in their shoes. I know what they’re going through. I think there is an understanding of what it means to be a parent, what the struggles of being a parent are, and making decisions based on what I would want for my own children and how that would apply to the students of Shaler Area,” Aiken said.  

One of the biggest decisions made in Shaler Area in the past few months was the one-to-one initiative in schools. Aiken was not a part of the process but deems it necessary for children to be exposed to 21st century technology in order to competitively advance in the future.

“Our students need to be competitive in a global marketplace. The more experience and exposure our students can have now to technology that’s available, puts our students in a more competitive place. Moving forward our students and teachers need to grow with the use of the iPads and technology,” Aiken said.

Aiken hopes that he will be able to finish his career and retire from Shaler Area. In the meantime, he hopes to make improvements and positive changes for the better for the students.

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