School boards conduct annual re-organization meetings

Venango County’s four school boards – Franklin, Oil City, Cranberry and Valley Grove – held their annual re-organization meetings Tuesday.

Here is a rundown of who was elected to the board offices and who was sworn in to another term after being re-elected last month or sworn in as a first-time board member.


Brian Spaid was unanimously re-elected Franklin School Board president.

Spaid, a Franklin attorney who also serves as solicitor for Franklin City Council and Sugarcreek Borough, has served as president since 2010.

“I thank you all and I just wanted to remind everyone that I don’t hold any special power any more than anyone else on the board,” Spaid said.

Sabrina Backer will also return as board vice president as the result of another unanimous decision. She has held the position since replacing Randy Seitz in 2016.

Both Spaid and Backer were nominated to the posts unopposed.

Newcomers Andy Boland and Don Judy were sworn in along with Backer and Misty Nalepa. The four were elected last month along with Erin Leccia, who wasn’t able to attend Tuesday’s meeting and will be sworn in separately.

Boland will serve on the board’s operations and planning committees, and Judy will serve on the personnel committee and join Nalepa as a representative at the Venango Technology Center meetings.

Nalepa was also appointed as a member of the board of the Venango County Area Vocational-Technical School Authority.

By Sarah Titley

Valley Grove

Sue Bialo was elected president of the Valley Grove School Board. She will take over the seat from outgoing president Melanie Anderson. Anderson was also nominated for president, but because the nomination received no second, there was no vote on it.

Joane Beach was elected vice-president over incumbent vice-president Cindy Swendsen, with a vote of four to three.

Todd Wetjen, Cindy Swendsen, Debra Brink, and Susan Bialo were sworn in as school board members. Brandon Winger, who was not able to attend Tuesday’s meeting, will be sworn in at a later meeting. Swendsen, Brink and Bialo were re-elected in November. Wetjen and Winger were newly elected, having been appointed previous to the election to fill two vacant seats.

Todd Carson was approved to serve as the district’s representative for the Venango Technology Joint Committee for a three-year term starting Dec. 5.

Carson was also approved as a member of the Board of Venango County Area Vocational-Technical School Authority for a five-year term, from Jan. 1, 2020 to the first Monday of January, 2025.

By Rosemary Fielding

Oil City

Joseph McFadden was re-elected Oil City School Board president and Fredrick Weaver was re-elected vice president.

Both votes were unanimous.

Shari Neely, Angella Scalise, James Disque and newcomer Stephen Kelley were sworn in to office. Neely, Scalise and Disque were re-elected in November, and Kelley was elected to his first term.

Kelley, who is from Rouseville, works in the construction industry.

Disque was appointed as representative to the Venango Technology Center board of directors. His term expires Dec. 31, 2022.

Disque was also appointed as the school board’s representative to the Riverview Intermediate Unit 6 board of directors. That term expires June 30, 2021.

Neely was appointed to the Venango County Area Vocational-Technical School Authority. Her term runs from Jan. 1, 2020, to the first Monday in January 2023.

Business manager Susan Fisher and Superintendent Lynda Weller were appointed as delegate and first alternate to the Venango County Tax Collection Committee.

By Kara O’Neil


Longtime Cranberry school board member Tom Neely was unanimously re-elected president of the board.

Neely served on the board from 1985 to 1997, a tenure that included holding the president’s post. He was appointed to fill a vacancy in October 2013 and was subsequently elected president.

In the November election, Neely was re-elected to another term.

Camae Bunyak, also a longtime board member, was unanimously re-elected first vice president. Mark Marterella was elected unanimously as second vice president.

Kyle Melat was named to serve as Pennsylvania School Board Association and legislative liaison. Mike Port, a former board member who won election in November, will serve as representative to the Riverview IU 6 board.

Bob Blauser and Marterella will represent Cranberry on the Venango Technology Center board.

Sworn into office as new board members were Chad Findlay and Port and incumbents Ken Brannon, Neely and Marterella. All were elected in November.

By Judith O. Etzel