• Andy Caruso named high school’s dean of students

    Andy Caruso spent just eight days last school year at Bellefonte Area High School before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown school for the remainder of the school year. At the time, he was helping fill a void in administration as Vice Principal Becky Michaels was on maternity leave.

    This year, he’s back fulltime filling a different role as dean of students. And the longtime educator said it has been a smooth transition into the new position, where he will work with students, handle attendance referrals and other disciplinary matters primarily with the freshman and sophomore classes.

    “The staff here is wonderful to work with,” Caruso said. “They’re welcoming and polite, and I’ve known some of them before, so I feel comfortable. I just want to be useful and help out in any way I can, and be there for the school where I can.”

    He also knows many of the students. Caruso was an eighth-grade science teacher at Bellefonte Area Middle School for nearly 20 years, before making the move to the high school this year.

    “My approach is just to talk with them and talk with parents, and keep it as straightforward as possible and see where we can make progress,” he said.

    Caruso received his undergraduate degree in occupational environmental safety where he worked in the environmental and safety field based in Pittsburgh. He later received his teaching certificate from Lock Haven University and principal certificate in 2019 from California University of Pennsylvania.

    “I worked for a couple years in the environmental field,” he said. “There was a lot of travel and I kind of felt disconnected from what I was used to. I didn’t really want to do that and thought teaching was something I’d enjoy, so I gave it a try.”

    He first worked in 1999 as a teacher at an inner-city high school in Charlotte, North Carolina. A year later, he moved back to Central Pennsylvania and landed a job at Bellefonte Area Middle School as a science teacher, where he spent the next nearly two decades – in the same classroom – before transferring to the high school.

    Caruso was officially approved as the dean of students at a school board meeting on Sept. 8.

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    Fun facts:

    • Caruso has participated in eight marathons, with a goal to someday qualify for the Boston Marathon.
    • His wife, Anita, is a teacher at Bellefonte Elementary School, and is currently helping with Bellefonte eLearning Academy.
    • He is a graduate of Bald Eagle-Nittany High School. The school in Mill Hall, Clinton County closed in 1999 when it was merged with Lock Haven and Sugar Valley high schools to form Central Mountain High School.

    *By Brit Milazzo, public relations, BASD