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‘It’s my home’: Penn-Trafford assistant superintendent says goodbye to district after 26 years

For the first time in 10 years, Scott Inglese did not wake up to an alarm or prepare to walk the hallways of the Penn-Trafford School District administration building.

For the first time in a decade, Scott Inglese did not wake up to an alarm or get ready to walk the halls of the Penn-Trafford School District administration building.

Inglese, 56, from Penn Township, has been employed at the district for 26 years, working as a teacher, principal and — for the last ten years — assistant superintendent.

He led the district through the uncertainty of the pandemic as covid coordinator and supervised a yearlong $32 million renovation of the high school in 2015 — which involved adding a second gymnasium and a fitness center, upgrading the auditorium and renovating classrooms.

But Inglese’s journey at Penn-Trafford started long before he took on a science teacher role at the high school in 1992. The Trafford native grew up in the district, playing football and wrestling in high school. He graduated in 1985.

“It’s my home,” he said of the Penn-Trafford community.

Encouraged by his father’s passion for science, Inglese pursued a teaching certificate in earth and space science and general science from Clarion University — now called Pennsylvania West Clarion.

He remembers a 1972 road trip with his family out West, during which his father studied rocks and minerals and worked with a Boy Scout camp. His family traveled to California and spent much of the monthlong trip in New Mexico, he said.

“My brother and I were arguing the whole way,” he joked.

Inglese started his teaching career in Virginia, but he came back to his hometown to work as a science teacher at Penn-Trafford for three years while earning a master’s degree in school administration.

After two years at the Ligonier Valley School District and four years as assistant principal and athletic director for Greater Latrobe High School, Inglese returned to Penn-Trafford for the last time in 2001.

He served as the high school principal for 13 years before moving to the assistant superintendent role. He was the district’s third high school principal, following the 1972 merger of Penn Joint and Trafford high schools.

“I lived in Penn-Trafford. This is my roots. I bleed green and gold,” he said. “It was an honor and a privilege to return, so I had to take the opportunity.”

Inglese is proud of how the district has changed over the years.

“Growing up in the district in the 70s — it was mostly a rural district,” he said. “It’s transformed from a rural district to a suburban, residential community.”

Inglese helped lead the district to success, according to Superintendent Matthew Harris, who worked alongside him for 17 years.

“We are currently at the top of Westmoreland County and the state in academics, and we accomplished that with minimal spending,” Harris said. “(Inglese) helped me with that, so that’s a lot of success.”

Penn-Trafford’s PSSA and Keystone exam scores from November ranked 21st out of 606 school districts in the state, according to SchoolDigger — a website that ranks schools based on student exam scores provided by the state Department of Education.

SchoolDigger rated the high school’s test scores 17th out of 674 high schools in the state for the 2022-2023 school year. The high school used $16,474 per student that year, according to SchoolDigger.

As the covid coordinator, Inglese kept track of the number of cases in the district and collaborated with the school nurse to decide whether to keep the school open, Inglese explained. He kept an eye on state requirements for wearing masks and maintaining social distance, informing students and parents about procedural changes.

“It was a significant amount of work,” Inglese remarked. “It truly occupied a lot of our time and energy at that time.”

Inglese assisted the district in creating a plan for safely returning to school by the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year, in line with state guidelines, according to Harris.

“He took it very seriously, while developing our plan,” Harris explained. “We were one of the few school districts that returned to full operation in the first year, and he really contributed to that.”

Former Leechburg Area Superintendent Tiffany Nix, who resigned from that position in December, took over for Inglese in February.

“I think the district is going to be in good hands. Tiffany is a very astute administrator,” Inglese commented. “Her challenge is simply getting to know and understand the district and our procedures.”

To start off his retirement, Inglese has several trips planned in Alaska, Mexico, and the Florida Keys. He is excited to spend more time with his family — his wife, Anna, who retired from Penn Middle School almost two years ago; his daughter Haylee, 25, a graphic designer; and his son, Daniel, 21, a senior at Penn State.

After about 12 years of working with Inglese as superintendent and assistant superintendent, Harris has mixed feelings about Inglese’s retirement.

“I’m happy for him but very sad at the same time, because we had a very good working relationship,” Harris said. “I knew that he had the best interest of the kids and the community.”

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