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Wyalusing Board Tags Virginia Educator as New Superintendent

Before undertaking the task of finding ways to offset a projected 2011-12 budget shortfall of more than $2 million on March 28, Wyalusing Area School Board members introduced Chester Mummau to the public as the school district's new superintendent. He will begin his association with the school district on July 1 as assistant superintendent and will officially replace retiring superintendent Ray Fleming on Sept. 28. Fleming has served as superintendent since September 2004.

Born in Lancaster County, Mummau honed his administrative skills in the Virginia public school system, having grown up in a farming community in central Virginia and pursuing the bulk of his education in the state. He obtained his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville.

Mummau thanked the board for the opportunity to serve the school district and noted that he and his wife, Priscilla are looking forward to relocating to the area. He acknowledged that the budget problems faced by the Wyalusing Area School District (WASD) are currently being addressed by school boards across the nation. And, while he conceded that he does not have all of the answers, Mummau said, "I know that if we all put our heads together, we can come up with what's best for the students and the administration."

"Obviously, we'll have to develop a priority list," he stated after the meeting in reference to the need to stretch available funding. "I'm optimistic that the economy is recovering and that better times are ahead."

Mummau looks forward to working with Fleming and elementary school principal Joe Darrow to finalize the consolidation process and get the new elementary school ready to open in August. "The sale or re-purposing of the four vacant elementary buildings will also be a top priority," he added. Immediate goals will also include finding ways to increase revenue and improve technology services and district communication.

Mummau related that he was attracted to WASD in large part due to its relatively small student population of approximately 1,450. Prior to his current position with the Spotsylvania County Public School District in Virginia, which serves more than 24,000 students, Mummau worked for 11 years in a school district with 1,750 students. In addition, Mummau noted that he was impressed by "the very progressive attitudes of the school board members" in Wyalusing.

"My vision for the Wyalusing Area School District is to continue to build on the already great programs in place and to make it a model school system to provide the best education possible for the students," Mummau stated.

The rich history of Bradford County and the Endless Mountains has piqued his interest, but Mummau joked that adjusting to the weather will be a challenge. Despite his proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountain range, "the forsythias and pear trees are in full bloom" in Virginia, he noted, "whereas Bradford County still has snow in some areas."

Mummau's wife has just begun to search for jobs in the area. She currently serves as an office manager for a land-surveying and engineering firm. An adult daughter and adult son will remain in Virginia. Another adult daughter is currently attending college in Boston.

School board president Deborah Stethers noted that Mummau was selected from a field of 16 "solid" applicants after two rounds of thorough interviews, using a questionnaire crafted, in part, by school staff members and administrators.

"We are pleased with the process and the outcome," Stethers told those in attendance at the school board meeting. Mummau's starting salary was listed at $98,000.

Future district superintendent Chester Mummau signs his contract as district secretary Kathy Trowbridge looks on. Photo by Wes Skillings.

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