Brett Gilliland

Dr. Brett Gilliland

Dr. Brett Gilliland was elected Superintendent For the Mount Union Area School District in May of 2010.  He began this job on July 1, 2010. Prior to this job he worked for the Everett Area School District as Assistant Superintendent. He started there with a five-year contract on May 15, 2008. Before being hired at Everett, Dr. Gilliland had been working in Administration for 10 years.  He had been high school principal twice at Southern Fulton Area High School, from 2000-2002 and 2005-2008.  From 2002-2005, he was high school principal at the Tuscarora Blended Learning Charter School and Coordinator of Educational Support Services at Tuscarora Intermediate Unit #11, in McVeytown, PA.  He taught in an elementary school, in the Reading Area School District, prior to beginning his administrative experiences.  Dr. Gilliland graduated from Juniata College, where he attained a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.  He received his Principal papers and Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Penn State GreatValley/ Berks Campus in 1996.  Dr. Gilliland received his Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility in 2005 and his Doctorate of Education in July 2007 through the IDPEL Interdisciplinary Program for Educational Leadership from the Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. His doctorial thesis was "Thinking Outside of the Box:  Blended Learning as an Alternative to Traditional Learning". 

Curt Whitesel

Mr. Curt Whitesel
High School Principal

Mr. Whitesel was hired as Assistant Principal in charge of the Junior High in May of 2003.  He was promoted to the position of High School Principal in February 14, 2005.  Prior to coming to Mount Union Mr. Whitesel taught for the West Perry School District assigned to the Loysville Youth Development Center School from November of 1991 to August 2000.  Mr. Whitesel taught at Loysville for 9 years.  Mr. Whitesel then accepted a position with the Southern Huntingdon County School District in August of 2000 where he taught Intermediate Learning Support and assumed Head Teacher Duties at Spring Farms Elementary.  Mr. Whitesel worked 3 years at Southern Huntingdon leaving in June of 2003.  Mr. Whitesel has a Bachelors and Masters Degree from Shippensburg University.  He is certified to teach Elementary Education K-6 and Special Education N-12.  Mr. Whitesel holds a K-12 Principals Certificate and received his Superintendents Letter of Eligibility October 1, 2012.


Amy Smith

Amy Smith
Junior High School Principal

As a Mount Union Area School District alumni, Ms. Smith has devoted her career to education earning the following degrees: 

Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education/Certification in Elementary Education K - 8 

Masters of Education in Mathematics/Certification in Mathematics 7 - 12

Masters of Education in Educational Leadership/Principal Certification K - 12

Superintendents Letter of Eligibility (August 2015)

Currently enrolled in a Doctorate of Education degree program in Educational Leadership


She has been in education the past eighteen years, teaching Mathematics at the Middle and High School level for eight years and as an administrator for ten years.  As an educator or administrator it is imperative to provide students with the skills necessary to be successful in the 21st Century global society. 


“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein​

Dawn Holesa

Mrs. Dawn Holesa
Elementary Principal

Mrs. Holesa began her career in education with the Mount Union Area School District in 1990.  She worked first as a second grade teacher at the original Mount Union Elementary building.  After spending 17 years teaching in  elementary classrooms that included grades one, two, four, and Kindergarten,  she became the Assistant Elementary Principal at Shirley Township Elementary, in 2007.

Her educational credentials include her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, Master’s degree in Educational Administration, Principal’s Certification and Supervisory Certification all from Shippensburg University.

She continues to love reaching, teaching, and inspiring all students at Shirley Township Elementary.  Her passion for education involves providing a rigorous, exciting, and safe learning environment for all students.


Mrs. Dianne Thomas
Director of Special Education

As a native to Huntingdon County, Dianne Thomas, Director of Special Education/Pupil Services, has served as a public school administrator within the Mount Union School District since 2010. Dianne attended Shippensburg University, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in 1997. Following graduation, Dianne was accepted as an Elementary Educator for Baltimore City Schools for the 1997-1998 school year.  While in Baltimore, Dianne served as a 3rd grade teacher for one year.   Upon returning to Pennsylvania, Dianne began working as a special education teacher in 1999.  She served in that role for the Southern Huntingdon County School District and the Fannett-Metal School District for several years.  In 2002, Dianne earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education.  She went further to complete her certification in Special Education Supervision in 2004.  Dianne is certified in the following additional areas:  Reading Specialist, Middle Level English 7-9, and Mathematics 7-12.  She will complete the Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility Residency Program in August of 2015 and has been accepted into Shippensburg University’s Doctoral program beginning with the January 2016 Cohort.  Mrs. Thomas has served as an administrator for 10 years and has been working with individuals with special needs for over 20 years of which 16.5 years have been dedicated to children with special needs in the public education sector.  Prior to working for Mount Union Area SD, Dianne served as the Coordinator of Special Education for the Fannett-Metal SD as well as the Supervisor of Special Education for the Bedford Area School District.    

Mrs. Carol Kauffman
 Director of Business Affairs

 Mrs. Kauffman began her career with the Mount Union Area School District in September 2015 when she was hired as Director of Business Affairs. Prior to coming to Mount Union, she worked for The Stewardship Group in Belleville as the Vice President/CFO.  Mrs. Kauffman began her school finance career in Career and Technical Education where she served as the Business Manager for the Mifflin/Juniata CTC from 1997-1999 and then as the Business Manager for the Huntingdon County CTC from 1999-2011.  Mrs. Kauffman received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Penn State University with a minor in Business Law in May 1991.

Mrs. Susan Hendricks
School Counselor

Grades 10-12

Mrs. Hendricks began her career in education with Mount Union Area School District in 1999. She has served as the secondary school counselor at Mount union Area High School for 16 years.

Susan has proven herself to be a caring and resourceful counselor who effectively provides comprehensive academic, career and personal/social counseling services to senior high school students. She is dedicated, knowledgeable and visionary in preparing students for graduation, post-secondary careers and continuing education.

Her educational credentials include an associate’s degree in Applied Science and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant from Lehigh Community College in 1978.She received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1982 from Gwynedd-Mercy College. Susan earned her Master’s degree for Guidance and Counseling in 1987 from Florida Atlantic University. 

Prior to working at Mount Union Area School Susan was employed as a counselor for Santaluces Community High School in Lantana, Florida for 13 years. A passion for helping others has been her commitment and inspiration in serving students, parents, faculty and staff, business and community members, and institutions of higher education