Quaker Valley welcomes 3 new administrators

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 | 6:00 AM

They come from drastically different backgrounds.

But three new administrators in the Quaker Valley School District have one thing in common: They’re excited for the opportunity to make a difference in the district.

Mike Lewis, 44, of New Brighton, started in June as the district’s new director of student services. He is replacing 20-year district employee Sally Hoover, who retired Aug. 1. He will earn a salary of $121,750.

Charlie Gauthier, 42, of Cranberry, started in July as the district’s director of facilities and administrative services. He is taking over for 25-year district employee Joseph Marrone, who is retiring Aug. 31. Gauthier will earn a salary of $115,000.

John Demkowicz, 39, of Moon, started Aug. 12 as the district’s supervisor of transportation and custodial services, filling the role of Tom Hess, a three-year district employee, who resigned in June, and Barbara Mellett, who is moving to a teaching position in the district. Demkowicz will earn a salary of $62,000.

In his role as director of student services, Lewis will oversee all of the district’s support services for students in programs including special education, the education of higher learners, English as a second language students and homeless and homeschooled students.

Lewis, who has a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from Slippery Rock University, a master’s in education and principal’s certification from the University of Pittsburgh, and a superintendent’s letter of eligibility from California University of Pennsylvania, worked as a teacher in the New Brighton School District.

He later became an elementary principal in the South Side Area School District in Beaver County, and moved up to the role as assistant superintendent and director of special education in the district.

For the last two-and-a-half years, he’s worked as the director of curriculum at the Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit. In that role, he provided support for the district and missed seeing end results with families and district staff.

Coming to Quaker Valley, Lewis praises Hoover for having a system that is “high-performing.” He doesn’t see drastic changes that are needed from the get-go.

His goal is to make sure “we’re meeting the needs of all of our students, regardless of where they are along their spectrum of learning,” he said.

The goal is to meet students where they are academically, socially and emotionally and provide them with the supports they need wherever they are at.

“Even as adults, we all grow and learn at different paces,” he said. “Obviously that’s the same for our students.”

His plan right now is to listen to everyone to see what the needs are.

As a parent of two grown kids, one who was a higher learner and one who has learning disabilities, Lewis said he can see things from parents perspectives.

And he strives to be approachable.

“I’m honored to be a part of this very successful system,” Lewis said.

Gauthier is a 2001 graduate of Louisiana State University, with a degree in landscape architecture. Initially, he worked for a civil engineering firm, doing commercial real estate and residential site development before heading back to his alma mater to work as a facilities project manager.

At LSU, he oversaw a maintenance staff of about 45 people, along with construction and renovation projects for academic, residential and athletic facilities. In all, there were about 500 buildings on campus that he oversaw.

It was his wife’s job that brought them to Pittsburgh in 2017.

He took on a job as assistant director of facilities in the North Allegheny School District, where he worked until being hired at Quaker Valley.

It was the proposed new high school project that enticed him to come to QV.

“Just having that challenge of a project that size I think really interested me in this position,” Gauthier said.

His goal for the role is to “make sure we run efficiently and effectively,” having custodial and maintenance staff respond quickly to requests and ensuring the schools are safe for students and staff.

Demkowicz, who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, spent his early years in the pageantry arts world. He was a performer in the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corp, which he equates to a professional marching band.

His life has taken him across the country, where he’s done everything from drive trucks for FedEX to work as a custodian, while attending school at night in his drive to become a math teacher.

For many years, he’s taught drum lessons. When he lived in Texas for a time, his job was teaching and adjudicating in the pageantry arts world.

“I was trained by the best in the world and I felt like I could continue to contribute to other people like they contributed to me,” Demkowicz said.

He still works on the adjunct faculty at Central Michigan University in the music department. He’ll spend a week of Quaker Valley’s summer shutdown time teaching the drumline and color guard summer clinic at Central Michigan.

After moving to Pittsburgh in 2010, he went back to school in pursuit of a math education degree. He took a job at Monark Student Transportation driving buses to supplement his income.

Demkowicz was quickly promoted to operation supervisor in the company, handling the Quaker Valley School District, which contracts the company for busing services.

During his early years at Monark, where he worked until the beginning of August, he helped with the transition from district-run busing to contracted, meaning he oversaw both district and Monark employees.

In his new role, he will serve as a district liaison to Monark.