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Bishop McCort hires Richland's Fleming to lead school

By: Maria Miller

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- Leadership at Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown is changing.

Thomas Fleming, who was superintendent of the Richland School District for many years, has been tapped to lead McCort.

The hire was meant to be kept a secret but was been rumored for at least the past month. 6 News had tried to confirm it on several occasions, but no one from McCort or Richland was giving any information until Tuesday, when an official release was sent out.

That letter explains the appointment of Fleming to Bishop McCort Catholic High School as a chief administrative officer and principal.

The move comes shortly after Fleming announced his retirement as superintendent for the Richland School District, a post he's held for several years. Before his time as superintendent there he had also served as principal and assistant principal at the high school as well as a department head at the Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center.

The Bishop McCort board of trustees announced the appointment Tuesday with a statement from Chairman Mark Pasquerilla, who said, "Fleming brings a depth of experience and reputation that is unmatched in the greater Johnstown area. Our entire board is confident that Mr. Fleming will provide the high standard of leadership and experience that has established Bishop McCort as one of the leading institutions of catholic education in southwest Pennsylvania."

The release also included a statement from Fleming that read, "I am excited to become a member of the Bishop McCort family. Bishop McCort is one of the leading centers for education in our area, and its reputation for providing the highest quality Catholic education is well-known in our area, and also across the Commonwealth and country. I look forward to working with the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students and families to continue this great tradition of excellence at Bishop McCort."

The appointment is significant as it comes nearly a year after former McCort principal Ken Salem was placed on administrative leave as allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of Brother Stephen Baker, an athletic trainer at the school in the early '90s.

Salem later resigned from his position in June. Since then the school has been led by Dr. D.A. Gardill.

The board said Tuesday she will continue to serve as acting principal until Fleming comes on board. It's not yet clear when that will happen.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times