Leaders Learning from Leaders Series

May 23rd, 2024

Episode 8: A Conversation with Dr. Gennaro Piraino, Jr.

Superintendent Franklin Regional School District, Pennsylvania

Episode Transcript

Episode Summary

About Dr. Gennaro Piraino, Jr.

Dr. Gennaro R. Piraino, Jr., is the Superintendent of Schools for the Franklin Regional School District. He leads with a strong commitment to academic, artistic, and athletic excellence. He finds great fulfillment in his role, particularly in collaborating with stakeholders and community partners to provide exceptional educational opportunities beyond the traditional classroom setting.

Dr. Piraino champions a school environment that nurtures students’ growth as scholars, artists, athletes, and citizens. His advocacy has significantly transformed the learning landscape for Franklin Regional students. Under his leadership, the district initiated a comprehensive redesign of education, emphasizing the 5Cs: Critical Thinking, Citizenship, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication. This initiative led to the development of innovative programs and the transformation of learning spaces, including the renovation of Sloan Elementary into the Franklin Regional Primary School and the construction of the Franklin Regional Intermediate School.

These state-of-the-art facilities feature Innovation Centers, STREAM Classrooms, Creative Arts Centers, and Flexible Learning Spaces, providing rich educational experiences. Dr. Piraino also plays a key role in workforce development and community partnerships in Western Pennsylvania, serving as Chairperson of the Westmoreland County Forum for Workforce Development and on the Board of Directors for the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland.

Dr. Piraino was recognized for his leadership as the 2019 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year and the 2018 Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year. He serves on various boards, including the Pennsylvania School Safety and Security Committee, the American Association of School Administrators Governing Board, and the National Center for Educational Research and Technology.

Dr. Piraino holds a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Lock Haven University, a Master of Education in Leadership from Saint Francis University, and a Doctorate of Education in Administrative and Policy Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. He resides in Murrysville, PA, with his wife, Carol, and their five children.

Podcast Summary:

In this episode of Leaders Learning from Leaders, Dr. Gennaro Piraino, Superintendent of Franklin Regional School District, shares insights from his extensive career in education. With over a decade of experience as a superintendent and recognition as the 2019 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Piraino discusses the impact of his early career on his leadership, the importance of collaboration, and the founding of Educational Leadership and Innovation Consultants (ELI). He emphasizes the need for continuous personal and professional growth and the evolving challenges superintendents face, especially post-COVID. Dr. Piraino also highlights the significance of building strong teams, fostering relationships, and maintaining personal balance. He concludes with advice for aspiring superintendents and the importance of mentorship and networking.

Topics Covered

  1. Early Career Impact: Dr. Piraino discusses how his experience as a learning support teacher and technology integration coach shaped his leadership philosophy, emphasizing the importance of supporting all students in achieving their goals and dreams.
  2. Collaboration and Team Building: Dr. Piraino highlights the importance of collaboration and building interdependent systems within educational institutions. He believes in empowering others and fostering continuous growth among staff at all levels.
  3. Finding and Nurturing Talent: Dr. Piraino elaborates on his approach to hiring and promoting staff who are skilled and committed to continuous learning and growth. He emphasizes the mutual push for improvement between him and his team members.
  4. Founding of Educational Leadership and Innovation Consultants (ELI): Motivated by his wife’s suggestion, Dr. Piraino started ELI to provide executive coaching for superintendents. The initiative focuses on holistic personal and professional development, including health, finance, and organizational leadership.
  5. Superintendent Role Pre- and Post-COVID: Dr. Piraino reflects on the changes in the superintendent role due to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting a shift towards focusing on mental health and personal well-being alongside professional responsibilities.
  6. Challenges and Support for Superintendents: The episode discusses common areas where superintendents seek coaching, such as personal balance and building effective relationships with school boards. Dr. Piraino stresses the importance of not personalizing uninformed criticism and maintaining a supportive network.
  7. Advice for Aspiring Superintendents: Dr. Piraino advises those considering the superintendency to observe current leaders, seek mentorship, and focus on continuous learning at every career stage. He underscores the importance of patience and maximizing each career phase.
  8. Contact Information for Further Engagement: Dr. Piraino provides his district and personal email addresses, inviting listeners to reach out for further discussion or advice.

This episode offers valuable insights into educational leadership, emphasizing the need for continuous growth, collaboration, and personal well-being in effectively managing school districts.

Dr. Piraino welcomes education leaders to reach him directly via email at Gennaro.Perino@gmail.com

Episode Highlights


Removing Barriers and Building Capacity

Podcast Highlight – 1:48 mins


Leadership and Personal Development

Podcast Highlight – 1:40 mins

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