First Posted: 9/19/2013
Janet Serino is expected to be named Wyoming Area’s next superintendent.
Serino, of Harding, the current assistant superintendent, will replace Ray Bernardi on April 4, 2014. The Wyoming Area School Board will vote on the appointment at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday night.
Serino, who will be the first female superintendent in the history of the district, currently earns upwards of $100,000 as assistant superintendent.
The salary for her five-year contract would begin at $113,000, but Solicitor Jarrett Ferentino said her contract will be negotiated.
Serino’s career in education dates back to the early 1970s.
Serino received a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education/early childhood education from College Misericordia in Dallas Township and a Master of Science degree in school leadership from Marywood University in Scranton. She also has her principal and superintendent certificates from Marywood.
Her career started in the Wyoming Area School District as a summer school instructor and substitute teacher.
In 1979, she started teaching grades seven and eight at Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Dupont. She served as the school’s principal from 1992 to 2001.
“I liked the hugs I was getting around the knees from the little kids,” she previously said. “They would take your hand. And sometimes they would show you the way when you couldn’t show them the way.”
When she moved to the Wyoming Area School District in 2001, Serino served as an elementary principal, the district elementary principal, the district principal of curriculum and, most recently, assistant superintendent.
As assistant superintendent, her primary roles deal with federal programs, grant writing and overseeing the curriculum.
“I always tell our teachers: You have an opportunity to leave a legacy,” she had said. “Our students remember the best and they remember the worst. They don’t remember the mediocre. How do you want to be remembered?”
In an interview when she was named assistant superintendent, Serinio remembered “Ronald,” the kid with the smelly feet. She said a bus driver came to her office when she was a principal many years ago and told her “Ronald’s feet sink.”
Serino called the student’s mother, but the mother seemed disinterested. So, Serino said she did what she had to do.
“On my lunch break, I went to the store and bought him two pair of socks and some foot powder,” she said. “Then I got a bucket of soapy water and I washed Ronald’s feet.”
A little TLC is all Ronald needed, she said. The same for all other students, as well.
“If he was the kid that was having problems in class, he would be chastised even more because of his feet,” Serino said. “This was a little boy who I knew struggled and he really needed some attention.”
Ronald made an impact on Serino. “I don’t know where Ronald is today and I am not certain if Ronald will remember me, but I will always remember Ronald.”
The board accepted Bernardi’s retirement letter in August. He will retire on April 3, 2014. He served as the district’s top administrator since his appointment on Feb. 1, 2001. Bernardi earns $124,099 a year.
His philosophy as superintendent was simple.
“I always pretended like it was my money and they’re my kids,” he previously said. “So all my decisions are based on, if I were going to do a project, I wanted to get the best construction people at the best price. And if I was going to do something for my children, what would I do? How would I better provide education for my kids? That was my philosophy and that made the job easier for me.”
Reporter Jon O’Connell contributed to this report