Thomas Jefferson High School gets new principal

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Christopher Sefcheck was in Disney World in Florida when he took a call on July 2 from Michael Panza, West Jefferson Hills School District superintendent.

That was when he found out he was going to be the new principal at Thomas Jefferson High School. Board members voted 5-4 on July 2 to hire him.

As an “out-of-the-box thinker,” Sefcheck, 46, of South Park, said he hopes “to get the students and teachers to realize their maximum potential.”

“I really wanted to work at TJ because of their strong academic and athletic programs,” he said.

Board members Alan Caponi, board President Anthony Angotti, Carolyn Bourgeois and John Hosmer voted against the move. The four did not comment publicly, but Angotti read a statement:

“… …the decision of every board member is always respected, and the entire board is prepared to move forward and support the new start for our high school, and we wish Mr. Sefcheck much success.”

Sefcheck had been principal of Frazier High School in Fayette County, since 2011. He taught at the high-school level and earned his principal's certification from California University of Pennsylvania. He also is an Air Force veteran, having served during the Persian Gulf War.

Sefcheck will begin on Aug. 1. He will be paid $90,000 annually.

In the meantime, Timothy Haselhoff, TJ's newly retired principal, will perform transition services at a per-diem rate of $429.85.

Shauna D'Alessandro, board vice president, shared her reasons for approving the hire that started with 50 resumes and was narrowed to five.

“In his district, there is quantitative data of demonstrable change in test scores and rankings,” she said.

Teacher evaluations are in part based on student test scores, D'Alessandro said. She also considered that Sefcheck had been recommended by two administrators and a teachers' group.

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or

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