Ambridge Area Middle School will have a familiar face at the helm when doors are opened for the
2018-2019 School Year.
Ambridge Area School Board of Directors approved the transfer of Mr. Thomas McKelvey to the
position of Middle School Principal at the June 13 meeting. He currently serves in the position of
State Street Elementary Principal. He will begin his new role as Middle School Principal on July
Mr. McKelvey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, Special Education
and Middle School Level Science from Slippery Rock University, where he graduated Summa
Cum Laude. He received his Master of Science in Education, K-12 Principal Certification from
California University and most recently has been accepted into the Doctoral Program at Point
He began his professional career in the Beaver Area School District as a special education and
general educator, and also served as a Behavior Consultant for the Watson Institute. He also has
served as an Assistant Principal at Woodland Hills Academy (K-8). Mr. McKelvey is certified in
Crisis Prevention Intervention.
His awards and honors include but are not limited to: Discovery Educator’s Network Star
Educator, PTA Extra Care for Kids Award Recipient, Distinguished Service and Scholastic
Excellence Award, Community Service Recognition Award and Golden Key International Honor
“We are pleased to have Mr. McKelvey continue to serve the Ambridge Area School District,”
said Dr. Jo Welter, Superintendent. “He is a caring and committed educator. He is a person of
great integrity. He will serve the students, teachers and community of our new middle school
with enthusiasm and dedication.”
Mrs. Jo Ann Hoover, current principal at Highland Elementary School, was approved for a transfer
to fill the position being vacated by Mr. McKelvey at State Street Elementary. Her starting date is
yet to be determined.
Mrs. Hoover is a graduate of Slippery Rock University, with Bachelor degrees in Elementary and
Special Education. She also holds a Master of Special Education degree from Duquesne
University and Principal Certification from Slippery Rock University. She previously served in the
Pittsburgh Public School System for 24 years. She is a certified trainer for Therapeutic Crisis
During her tenure at Highland Elementary, she implemented a schoolwide positive behavior
support program, which reduced the number of discipline referrals and suspensions. “She will
provide stability and continuity for State Street as Mr. McKelvey transitions to the Middle School,”
said Dr. Welter. “We are very fortunate to have her expertise.”
The Board also approved the hiring of Dr. Laura Burns to fill the position being vacated by Mrs.
Hoover at Highland Elementary School. Her starting date is yet to be determined.
Dr. Burns earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Master of Arts degree in Teaching
from the University of Pittsburgh. She received a Master of Public Management with a
concentration in Educational Leadership from Carnegie Mellon University. Most recently, she
received her Doctor of Education and Superintendent Letter of Eligibility from the University of
Pittsburgh. She previously served as a Social Studies teacher in the Baldwin Whitehall School
District and as an Assistant Principal at both the Carlynton Junior-Senior High School and the
Pine-Richland High School.
Dr. Burns’ professional honors include: memberships on the Pennsylvania State Social Studies
Curriculum Committee and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Study Tour. Also, Dr. Burns
was a recipient of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia Grant.
“Dr. Burns is committed to improving teaching and learning in the Ambridge Area School District,”
said Dr. Welter. “We are pleased to have her as a part of our team.”