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West Jefferson Hills superintendent Kinavey appeal begins

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Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

When a long-term substitute teacher in the West Jefferson Hills School District did not get hired for a permanent post, she visited the school board vice president's home, escorted by a high school assistant football coach, to voice concern.

"I listened to her," board Vice President Shauna D'Alessandro said when she took the stand on Tuesday in a remand hearing for the termination of district superintendent Terry Kinavey.

The purpose of the hearing was to enter additional evidence into the record, following an appeal by Kinavey's attorney, Ernest DeHaas.

The defense subpoenaed D'Alessandro to testify. Kinvey has contended she was fired because community members placed political pressure on school board members after she removed the substitute teacher's name from a hiring sheet.

Athletic director and varsity high school football coach Bill Cherpak contacted D'Alessandro in September 2009, asking if the substitute teacher Denise Breisinger, escorted by assistant football coach Jack Garrity, could speak with the board president regarding her name being removed from a personnel hiring sheet, D'Alessandro testified.

The three met for a "very short time" and Breisinger said she did not understand why she had not been hired since she had been under the impression that her name was on a mailbox at the high school, she had been assigned a teaching mentor and her name had been on a hiring sheet for a time.

Kinavey was suspended in September 2009 after more than 100 residents attended board meetings questioning her actions to remove Breisinger's name from the hiring sheet. The school board voted to fire Kinavey in September 2010, after months of testimony and a termination hearing that lasted 15 sessions. Evidence was presented that Kinavey plagiarized district materials and speeches.

Breisinger later was hired for a teaching position at Thomas Jefferson High School.

Kinavey appealed her termination, and an Allegheny County judge in 2011 ordered that the case go back before the West Jefferson Hills School Board.

The hearing is set to resume at 9 a.m. Thursday in the high school auditorium.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Tr ib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or

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