Return to Headlines

DASD Board selects new superintendent

DASD Board of Directors Selects New Superintendent


The Board of Directors of the Downingtown Area School District has approved the appointment of Dr. Emilie M. Lonardi, Ph.D. as the district’s new Superintendent of Schools.  Dr. Lonardi currently heads up the West York Area School District in West York, PA.  She will replace retiring superintendent Dr. Lawrence J. Mussoline on July 1, 2017.    


Board of Education President Colleen Cranney and the Board spent 9 months on a national search that attracted candidates from many different states.  CCIU Executive Director Joseph O’Brien and his team at the CCIU worked with the Board during the candidate selection process.  Dr. O’Brien hosted more than ten forums to solicit desired characteristics and potential candidate questions from the community, staff, municipal leaders and business leaders. These questions were used during the interview process and helped the Board narrow down the field from 33 applicants to one.        


"As we met with Dr. Lonardi, it was clear that our views on education were well matched and that we had a common vision for the future of this district,” said Mrs. Cranney.  “Dr. Lonardi is an outstanding educator with a remarkable breadth of experience.  She has clear ideas on how best to move this district forward.  These points made her our clear choice for this most important position.”


Dr. Lonardi has been Superintendent of the West York School District since 1998.   Before that she served two years as West York’s Assistant Superintendent and was Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Camp Hill School District for four years.  In 1988, Dr. Lonardi was named Assistant Principal of the Camp Hill PA Jr./Sr. High School. Following her graduation from West Chester University, Dr. Lonardi taught Health/Physical Education in the Camp Hill Jr./Sr. High School.


Dr. Lonardi received her Ph.D. from Penn State University in Educational Administration.  She received her M.S. in Human Performance/Motor Control from Indiana University.  She taught graduate classes at York College of Pennsylvania and at the Harrisburg Campus for Penn State University and is a frequent presenter on educational issues. 


Dr. Lonardi was the 2014 recipient of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) “Superintendent of the Year” award.  The award, based primarily on innovative leadership and academic achievement, is selected yearly by the membership. Dr. Lonardi also serves as the president-elect for PASA and is on the PASA Governing Board for the American Association of School Administrators.


“The Board had an enormous challenge in finding a replacement for Dr. Mussoline.  For the past 8 years, Dr. Mussoline’s strong leadership benefitted our community, our schools, staff and students in very meaningful ways,” said President Cranney.  “As we went through the interview process, we became convinced that Dr. Lonardi’s educational knowledge, her experience, approachable personality and her ability to connect and inspire students would be the best fit to succeed Dr. Mussoline.” 


Dr. Mussoline has been planning all year for a smooth leadership transition with his eventual successor.  While the next 12 weeks will be hectic, he will ensure as seamless a transition as possible cognizant of Dr. Lonardi's hectic schedule in transitioning from her current district to new leadership.


Dr. Mussoline said, “I am very pleased that I will be leaving DASD with the steady leadership hand of Dr. Lonardi at the helm. She has accomplished much in her stellar career as a leader among Pennsylvania superintendents. The Board of Education did an excellent job choosing Dr. Lonardi to move the District forward."


Dr. Lonardi’s appointment as Superintendent was confirmed at the April 10, 2017 board meeting held in the James E. Watson, Jr. Staff Development Room. 

Click here for Dr. Lonardi's Resume