New directors introduced to PAISD
Besides the interim principal at Port Aransas High School, Wayne Johnson, Port Aransas ISD Superintendent Dr. Sharon Doughty introduced two new permanent employees at the March 11 school board meeting: Director of Maintenance Kirk Palermo and Transportation Director Pete Cowen.
Palermo relieves retired maintenance director John Dreiling, who has worked for the district on an interim basis. He started work March 4.
He’s no stranger to school maintenance, having worked at the Uvalde Consolidated ISD for five years as life safety communications coordinator. In that job, Palermo was responsible for maintaining the school district’s communications equipment and helping the district become more compliant with life safety codes. Those include laws governing fire walls, fire extinguishers, and similar matters, he said.
Before that, he was interim maintenance director for 2 ½ years at Uvalde Memorial Hospital.
Uvalde, in contrast to Port Aransas, was dry and had no salt, he said. “Just like any job, you have different challenges,” he said.
Palermo said he’s already learned that Port Aransans are a friendly bunch.
“I like this community – the cohesion in the community is very tight, and the cooperation I’ve been getting has been extraordinary,” he said.
Palermo lives with his wife, Laura, and stepson, Chris, in a house they coincidentally bought in Rockport two years ago, intending it as a retirement home.
Cowen, who started on Monday, March 1, is responsible for school district transportation and grounds as well as acting as assistant maintenance director.
As transportation director, he must keep the district’s five school buses safe and operational. He also supervises the district’s bus drivers.
While the school district has only one formal bus route, it must maintain enough buses to take students to athletic activities and UIL academic competitions and on field trips. The school bus route runs in the morning, then again at noon to pick up pre-kindergartners, and again in the evening, Cowen said.
Before coming to Port Aransas ISD, Cowen was athletic field supervisor at Aransas Pass ISD. He is married to girls’ varsity basketball coach Stephanie Cowen.