Greensburg Salem School Board OKs 4-year superintendent contract with Ken Bissell

Greensburg Salem School Board has approved a formal contract with Superintendent Ken Bissell, who has been serving in that role for five months.

The contract, approved this week by an 8-1 vote, extends through June 30, 2026. It will automatically renew for an additional year unless the board decides otherwise.

It sets a starting salary of $144,000, as noted when Bissell was hired in November. He is to receive yearly raises of at least $2,000, retroactive to January, provided his annual performance rating is no less than “proficient.”

Bissell had served as acting superintendent since July, after Gary Peiffer resigned to become superintendent at Chartiers-Houston School District in Washington County.

Bissell joined Greensburg Salem in 2004 as a social studies instructor. He became assistant principal at the middle school in 2009. Three years later, he moved to the central administration office, as a coordinator of secondary education.

He holds a doctorate in education from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in geography and planning from Appalachian State University in North Carolina.

Bissell was formally sworn into office Wednesday by Westmoreland County Judge Chris Scherer.

Bissell thanked the school board and the community “for trusting in me for 18 years,” along with district teachers and fellow administrators “who have supported me. We’re a team, we’re in it together.

“We’ve learned and grown together, and we’ll keep doing that for what’s best for every single kid in our community.”

Emily Miller, who cast the sole vote opposing the contract, noted she wasn’t part of the superintendent selection process. She joined the board in December.

Miller said she believes Bissell is earnest in his duties as superintendent but said she has “grave concerns” about how some of the district curriculum is being handled under his watch. “I just have a very different perspective about the way that should go,” she said.

A former eight-grade English teacher who has had two children take eight-grade classes at Greensburg Salem, Miller said she believes there is not enough emphasis on persuasive writing at that level — or on reading, even in some advanced placement courses.

“I see some things that are gaps,” she said.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, jhimler@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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