When Bethel Park School Board voted unanimously to hire Joseph Villani as the new high school principal, he lost no time in expressing his enthusiasm.
“Let’s get to work,” he said. “I’m ready.”
Along with Villani, the board Tuesday approved the appointments of Douglas McCausland as finance director/business manager and James Fodse as assistant high school principal.
After serving as the high school’s associate principal for the past two years, Villani replaces Zeb Jansante, whom the board promoted in May as the district’s assistant superintendent for administration.
McCausland comes from Ambridge Area School District to fill the position of Leonard Corazzi, who is retiring as Bethel Park’s longtime director of finance, operations and human resources.
Fodse’s new job represents his first administrative position. He is a 10-year special education teacher at the high school, and for the past six has served as the district’s special education K-12 curriculum facilitator.
“He went through a very rigorous interview process, with candidates in and outside the district, many of whom were very qualified and very good,” Joseph Dimperio, interim superintendent, said. “But he rose to the top. So when one of our own makes it, that’s always a joy.”
With Ambridge Area, McCausland has served as director of district operations since 2016 and previously was an administrator in Fox Chapel Area, Pine-Richland and Burrell school districts.
He told the board members of his sister’s family have lived in Bethel Park for more than 20 years.
“I’m happy to be coming back to Allegheny County, and to be in such a prestigious school district is obviously a great honor,” he said.
Pam Dobos, school board president, spoke about him succeeding Corazzi, who has been with the district since 2006.
“You have some big shoes to fill,” she told McCausland. “We have had a fabulous finance director with us for many years, and I know that he has said that he would help you even though he will be retiring. And he will help all of us, too.”
Villani, who takes over as principal July 1, came to Bethel Park from Seneca Valley School District, where he was a secondary-level assistant principal.
“One of the quick things I learned when I got here, really early, was the pride and tradition in Bethel Park, the work ethic of those who work here and live here,” he said. “I learned about that tradition, and I am beyond excited to add to that and to continue growing the district, as well as the high school, moving forward.”
Regarding the terms of the hirings, McCausland’s approval was for a four-year contract, through mid-2024, at an annual salary of $128,000. Villani’s salary is $120,000 for the 2020-21 school year, and Fodse, $87,500.