HASD’s Letcher Becomes Head of State School Principals Association | News, Sports, Jobs

Maureen Letcher (left), Principal of Hollidaysburg Area High School, speaks with Student Dean Dawn Eckenrode in the school’s conference room. Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The principal of Hollidaysburg Area High School will now lead the Pennsylvania Principals Association as president.

Maureen Letcher will hold this position from 2022-24. She has been a member of the association for 22 years.

“During my tenure, I will advocate for our members. I will do everything in my power to implement a support system for principals and vice principals, and I will make sure they feel valued because it is the roles they play in our districts that have shaped the education system in Pennsylvania and will continue to shape to be among the best this country has to offer.” Said Letcher.

From 2018 to 2019, she served on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Principals as the Central III Secondary Regional representative.

Letcher began as principal of Hollidaysburg High School in mid-2013.

“Dr. Letcher demonstrated excellent leadership skills at the local level as principal of the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School. Her leadership has spread throughout the southwestern region of Pennsylvania as she serves as a mentor and colleague to many administrators in the area. “ said Eric C. Eshbach, PPA executive director.

Letcher grew up in Cresson and graduated from Bishop Carroll High School in 1990.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in English for Secondary Education with a minor in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. She received a Master of Science in Secondary Counseling Counseling, her major certification and a PhD in Management from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

When she started, apprenticeships weren’t easy to come by.

“While teaching, I also did youth and family therapy in the evenings. I was a behavioral specialist; that made me a much better teacher. My consulting background was very important to my teaching.” Said Letcher.

She began as a substitute teacher in the Forest Hills and Central Cambria school districts before being hired as an English teacher at Williamsburg High School in 1996.

Letcher said she expects to one day get into administrative work and earn her principal’s certification “just to have it.”

When Daren Johnston left, she became the principal in Williamsburg in 2001.

“It fell into my lap” Said Letcher. “I was only 28. I kept teaching. I was the only English teacher who had a master’s degree to teach the dual matriculation program. In the fall, I taught college language and freshman composition.”

The job in Williamsburg was important for her career.

“As an administrator in a small school district, you do everything. … You get to know all facets of the school”, Said Letcher.

She became the assistant principal of Hollidaysburg Junior High School from 2009 to 2010 and the high school principal from 2013 to 2014.

“The students are my favorite part of the job. My faculty is incredible. … They are here for the right reason, the students.” Said Letcher.

She enjoys working with Deputy Principal Mark Harrington and Dean of Studies Dawn Eckenrode.

Both Eckenrode and Harrington are impressed with Letcher.

“Maureen is an excellent administrator and I always feel supported. She encourages empathy, encourages a growth mentality, and supports students, faculty, and staff. She fosters respectful and caring relationships and fosters a positive school environment.” said Eckenrode.

Harrington said “Maureen has never been afraid to take on new challenges or try new ideas, which helped earn Hollidaysburg Senior High School the National Blue Ribbon Award.”

Superintendent Robert Gildea said he has worked with some of the state’s strongest women education leaders. “DR. Letcher is certainly their equal. She possesses a unique combination of skills which, in turn, allows her to empower those around her to bring out the best in themselves.” said Gildea.

In the community, she is a member of the Blair County Principals Association and has served as its Chair since 2001. She is a member of the Hollidaysburg Rotary Club and serves on the boards of the Hollidaysburg Community Partnership and the Women’s Caucus of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators.

Letcher said she’s in college for one reason — the kids — but she’s most proud of being a mom.

“I love kids, connecting with students; that’s why i’m still here. What I want is to be known as a good mother; That’s my #1 job, being a mom.” Said Letcher. “My role model was my mother (Dorothy Letcher); She was an amazing person and an amazing educator.”

She credits others with her professional success.

“It’s the people around me, the great people I work with, the people around me.” Said Letcher.

Letcher plans to work for a few more years.

“I’m not going anywhere until my youngest son graduates. He is a second year student. I love my position, I can stay here until I retire.” Said Letcher.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank can be reached at 814-946-7467.

The Letcher file

Name: Maureen Letcher

Age: 50

Position: President of the Pennsylvania Principals Association and Principal of the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School.

Family: Husband, Richard Baronner; Children, Maxwell and Mitchell Baronner.

Quote: “I have a real passion for the work that principals do.”

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