WPIAL hires board president Scott Seltzer as executive director

Monday, April 25, 2022 | 3:19 PM

WPIAL board president Scott Seltzer will take over as executive director this summer, replacing outgoing director Amy Scheuneman as the league’s top administrator.

The WPIAL board met Monday and voted to hire Seltzer, the assistant superintendent at Chartiers Valley and a familiar voice in the WPIAL office. Seltzer has served as a WPIAL board member since 2009 and board president since 2016, but had decided not to run for re-election this year. However, with Scheuneman soon leaving for a job elsewhere, Seltzer said he felt a responsibility to stay involved in the league’s leadership.

“I started thinking, honestly, with Amy gone, maybe I needed to step up,” Seltzer said. “I’m just honored to be part of the WPIAL. As executive director, I get to do my best to focus on student-athletes and try to improve their well-being.”

Seltzer, 55, becomes the league’s fifth full-time executive director after Charles “Ace” Heberling (1976-97), Larry Hanley (1997-06), Tim O’Malley (2006-20) and Scheuneman, who officially resigns June 1.

Seltzer starts as executive director July 1.

“He provides a unique aspect to this office and to the league because he’s been in so many different roles,” Scheuneman said, “so he can look at it through different lenses.”

As executive director, Seltzer will be tasked with overseeing a large, diverse PIAA district that includes 140 high schools in a 10-county area. The pandemic shaped much of Schueneman’s two years in charge, but new challenges await Seltzer, including a simmering dispute between traditional public schools and non-boundary counterparts.

The key to finding that solution, he said, is collaboration.

“Scott Seltzer saying it has to be this way is not the right answer,” he said. “We’re going to have to talk about this as our board. We’re going to have to talk about it at the PIAA level. I don’t think you want to make a rash decision on this one.

“There are schools that are upset and groups that are upset. They want something, but no one really knows what that is that can be fair and reasonable.”

A Lawrence County native, Seltzer is a graduate of Mohawk and Westminster, where he played football and won an NAIA Division II national championship in 1988. His career in education started as a social studies teacher at Mohawk, where he also coached football, baseball and basketball, and volunteered as a judge for track meets.

He later coached football as an assistant under Frank Antuono at Neshannock and under Jerry Schmitt at Westminster.

Seltzer and his wife Sandra have three adult children: Alex, 29, Matthew, 26, and Kaitlin, 21. His sons both live in Florida. His daughter is a junior education major at Seton Hill.

Seltzer climbed the ranks as a school administrator from his first position at Frew Mill School in New Castle, an institute for adjudicated youth. His resume includes jobs as an assistant principal and principal at the middle and high school levels at Moon and Neshannock.

He has served the past 12 years as assistant superintendent at Chartiers Valley.

Knowing retirement wasn’t too far off, Seltzer said he thought the timing was right to step away from the WPIAL this summer. That changed last month when Scheuneman accepted a position with P3R, which organizes races, including the Pittsburgh Marathon.

“I was shocked,” said Seltzer, who had made his decision to leave the board last September.

The board on Monday voted unanimously to accept Scheuneman’s resignation and hire Seltzer. Vince Sortino, the WPIAL assistant to the executive director, will remain in his current position, possibly with an expanded role.

The WPIAL will need to select a new board president and vice president this summer. Current vice president Patrick Mannarino, the North Hills superintendent, was not re-elected to the board.

Scheuneman said Seltzer’s time as board president and district chairman should be remembered for his efforts to improve relations with the PIAA and the 11 other districts statewide.

That friendlier approach will continue with Seltzer as executive director.

“I don’t want to say there was animosity (in years past), but everybody had their own idea, and we really didn’t listen to anybody,” Seltzer said. “We wanted it this way. District 10 wanted it their way. All of the districts sort of had their own ideas. We’ve opened up communications.”

Scheuneman said she’s seen “real improvement” in the WPIAL and PIAA relationship under Seltzer. The WPIAL is the largest district in the state with roots that predate the founding of the PIAA, so the WPIAL worked for years to maintain a sense of autonomy on the western side of the state.

Yet, Seltzer, Scheuneman and others now in charge of the WPIAL haven’t had that same hard-line WPIAL vs. PIAA view. The challenges of the pandemic also put common priorities in place, Seltzer said.

“We’re all one organization,” he said. “We have different districts, but we have to do what’s best for the kids. What’s best for a kid in Philadelphia may not have a direct impact on a kid from Pittsburgh, but what compromise can we make so no one is hurt?”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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