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Meet Dr. Mastillo, New Superintendent

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The Redbank Valley School Board hired a new superintendent, Dr. Mastillo.  He was introduced to faculty and staff last week on Tuesday, October 9, at a reception in the cafeteria after school.   The Bark sat down with Dr. Mastillo recently to get to know him better.

Dr. Mastillo is originally from Somerset County.  He grew up in the small town of Jerome, located halfway between Johnstown and Somerset. He spent his high school years at Conemaugh Township Jr. Sr. High School.   After graduation, he attended the University Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He wrestled both in high school and college.

Dr. Mastillo’s previous experience in education is quite varied.  Dr. Mastillo taught fifth and sixth grade math and science. He was also a head wrestling coach.  As an administrator,  he has experience as an elementary campus administrator, district transportation supervisor, and superintendent.

When asked what strengths he sees in the district so far, he said, “We’ve got a committed faculty, staff, and community. I think there is a very strong educational foundation across the district.  I think that it’s good that people want the best for the school district and the community as a whole. Everyone has been very friendly and welcoming.”

Dr. Mastillo’s goals begin with a transition plan. “A transition plan is intended for me to find out as much about the district as I possibly can. It’s going to involve meeting people internally and externally, touring campuses, and reviewing documents.   I’ve got to find out where the district has been, where we currently are, what the stakeholders are seeing for the future.  What do we want our graduates to look like? That’s one simple question as we move forward. What do we want to accomplish? 

“By January of 2019 I will have developed a strategic plan, taking all the information that I have collected.   I will meet with the board, and present my strategic plan.   A strategic plan is just action steps to accomplish the goals. I will also do an open forum for the community and present the strategic plan.  It’s important that the community as a whole knows what our goals are and knows that there are plans in place to accomplish those goals.”

When asked to describe the kind of superintendent he wants to be, Dr Mastillo replied, “I want to be a instructional leader and school leader that has effective working relationships with everyone in the district community.  Having effective relationships with teachers, students, community, and the various groups that are out there– there is so much that we can accomplish if we are all working together on a common goal.”  

Dr. Mastillo’s beliefs about education could not be more transparent.  When asked what his philosophy of education is he answered,  “… every student can learn; every student needs to have the opportunity to learn. I think it is our responsibility as school leaders not only to provide those opportunities but to challenge students. Have them (students) rise to a level that they may not believe they are capable of achieving.  It’s typically human nature that we sell ourselves short and say, ‘Aw, I can’t do that’.   So, we need that cheerleader and that motivator to say, ‘Come on, you can do this.  Let’s try it.’ 

“When I do my open forums next week, I am starting with that–we are always looking for continuing improvement. Even though we set a goal and we reach that goal, there is always that next goal we set. So we never settle for complacency, and we’re never ever where we are going to be because we continue to reach out. We have to have that in mind, so it’s always continuous improvement. We are all learning, no matter where we are in the food chain of education. We always have the opportunity to learn. I can come in with experience and information;  teachers can come in; but there are always areas that we can improve on personally and professionally.”

When Dr. Mastillo walks into a classroom he likes to see “…students engaged. I like to see an active classroom where there are things going on. Unless students are taking a test, then it’s okay to have a “five by five”.  (A “five by five” is when students are all sitting there taking a test quietly and there is no interaction.) There needs to be that type of interaction between teachers and students. Some of our best learning comes from others.”

On behalf of the students, The Bark would like to welcome and wish Dr. Mastillo the best of luck here at Redbank.

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