Lutz named finalist for PA superintendent of year


Kalonga Mwenda

Dr. Randal Lutz is the superintendent of Baldwin Whitehall schools.

Seth Franco and Brendan Harris

While students, parents, and businesses were trying to adapt to the changes brought on by the pandemic, Supt. Dr. Randal Lutz and other superintendents across the country had to pioneer new ways to continue classes and keep their districts running.

Working to keep school operating during the pandemic, Lutz said, was one of the great challenges of his career so far. Adapting to the pandemic helped Lutz realize that learning goes beyond the classroom, and that more needed to be done to support students both inside and outside of school. 

For his efforts during the pandemic and throughout his career, Lutz was recently recognized as one of the three finalists for the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators Superintendent of the Year Award. 

According to the association’s website, the award is meant to “recognize outstanding individuals on the frontiers of educational leadership,” and is open to all superintendents in the state of Pennsylvania. This year’s winner was Dr. Brian Troop of Ephrata Area School District.

Lutz, a Baldwin High School graduate, has had a long career in education.

“I started as an elementary school teacher in Bethel Park. I taught third and fifth grade for about six years,” Lutz said.

Later, Lutz became the assistant principal at Harrison Middle School for six years. Eventually, he moved up and became principal, and after that, he moved to the central administrative office to continue his career.

“When I came to the central office I was the elementary curriculum director, federal programs director, and assistant superintendent for six years before becoming superintendent,” Lutz said.

To be recognized by your peers and the people you work with for the job you do every day is really humbling.”

— Randal Lutz

Lutz has now been superintendent for 11 years. In that time he has gained a reputation for being a forward-thinking leader. Baldwin High School Principal Shaun Tomaszewski said one of Lutz’s best qualities is his empathy for the students. 

“Dr. Lutz was instrumental in bringing the Chill program to the high school,” Tomaszewski said. “And that was sort of ahead of its time, because it was ahead of the pandemic, and it was in the early days of schools considering the mental health needs of students.”

Tomaszewski also cited Lutz’s leadership in the creation of the Baldwin Bean coffee shop, and he noted that Lutz is also the superintendent of record for Steel Center.

Administrators from the district nominated Lutz for the superintendent award. Director of Communication, Innovation, and Advancement Dr. Janeen Peretin believes that Dr. Lutz’s involvement in the community makes him a deserving finalist.

“He communicates almost weekly through his broadcast of `Live with Lutz’ directly to the school community. He also attends events across the district to show his support for students and faculty members and does so without fanfare,” Peretin said. 

Despite the prestige of his nomination, it is the support and recognition from his peers that Lutz is most grateful for. 

“To be recognized by your peers and the people you work with for the job you do every day is really humbling. It’s a moment in time where maybe others can notice the work we’ve put in,” Lutz said. 

Tomaszewski said he was not only excited about Lutz’s nomination, but also for what it means to the district as a whole. 

“It means that people are watching what our district is doing, and think that what we’re doing is so good that our superintendent should be nominated for the award. I think this is a source of pride for the district, no doubt,” Tomaszewski said. 

Lutz also said that he is excited about the future of Baldwin.

“We want to rethink what we look like, how we’re organized, and how teachers and students interact,” Lutz said.

This is not Lutz’s first time being nominated for this award. However, it is his first time being one of the three finalists. Lutz said that the nomination has inspired him going forward in his career as superintendent.

“I think I’ve learned that there are some fantastic practices that are happening across the state. By participating in this group, we’re doing work to make Baldwin High School a better place,” Lutz said.