McCandless' Alpha School hires director of academics
Patricia Hiles, 50, of Pine expects to become a student of the latest teaching tools as new director of academics at Providence Heights Alpha School in McCandless.
“As academic expectations increase and we try to keep up with changes in technology and curriculum and standards, I think it's good to have an air-traffic controller,” Hiles said about her new job. “Every day, there are new Internet programs that need to be looked at and evaluated.”
The school created Hiles' new job to ensure continuity in curriculum and instructional methods for its nearly 200 kindergartners through eighth-graders.
“Mrs. Hiles will help ensure academic excellence in our teaching and learning environment,” said Margaret Ruefle, principal.
“Mrs. Hiles is a knowledgeable, dedicated, student-focused educator. I am thrilled to be working with her as we continue to implement 21st century learning at the Alpha School.”
Hiles — wife of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh chief financial officer Kevin Hiles — formerly taught language arts, spelling, cursive writing, creative writing and literature at the Alpha School, an independent, Catholic elementary school sponsored by the Sisters of Divine Providence.
“We pride ourselves on a small student-to-teacher ratio,” said Hiles, daughter of former schoolteacher Margaret Donovan of McCandless, and the late Dr. Robert Donovan.
Hiles, an alumnus of Providence Heights Alpha School, now will spearhead the school's selection of textbooks and online resources while helping serve students with special needs.
“Sometimes, what happens is, when you make the switch from an elementary to a middle school textbook, there's a little bit of a leap, and we want to make sure that we're bridging those gaps,” Hiles said.
Such gaps can occur with a shift from one textbook publisher to another, according to Hiles.
“Some of the textbooks integrate their English program into their reading program,” Hiles said. ”We have to decide — are we going to use a language arts program where the English, the reading and the spelling are integrated into one program? Or are we going to use ‘stand-alone' programs?
“With our class sizes being small, we have the unique opportunity to give kids individualized assistance.”
A graduate of North Allegheny Senior High School and John Carroll University, near Cleveland, Hiles is a parishioner of St. Catherine of Sweden Catholic Church in Hampton.
Hiles, who has a bachelor's degree in elementary education, taught second grade at the former St. Richard School in North Olmsted, Ohio, before she got her master's degree in education at the University of Pittsburgh and became a certified special-education teacher and reading specialist.
Hiles taught young patients with depression, anxiety and other disorders at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and the Allegheny Neuropsychiatric Institute before she temporarily left teaching to raise a family.
Hiles returned to teaching in 2003 as a substitute teacher at the Alpha School. She became a full-time teacher at the school in 2005.
Hiles and her husband, a North Hills High School graduate, have two daughters, Colleen, 18, and Shannon, 20, both graduates of Pine-Richland High School.
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pine puts windmill back on sale
- Workshops provide parents facts about North Hills math program
- Photo Gallery: North Hills cheerleaders at WPIAL competition
- St. Ursula School in Hampton to show off 104-year success story
- Nature mural in North Park makes up Girl Scout project
- Auto-repair shop plan for former Wexford fire station hits opposition
- Workshop on dealing with divorce to be offered at Hampton church
- North Hills Drama Club goes ‘green’ with musical
- Cutbacks limit tax forms available at North Hills-area libraries