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Whittle to fill remaining 2-year term on Seneca Valley board

| Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 5:41 p.m.
Rachel Farkas/Tribune-Review
Kathy Whittle of Seven Fields replaces Kelly Kopera on the Seneca Valley school board.

The Seneca Valley School District's board of directors appointed a new member to fill a vacancy that has been open for two months.

Kathy Whittle, 48, of Seven Fields was sworn in at the Monday meeting after a lengthy interview with the board.

“The biggest obstacle is we have to find a way to do more with less,” she told the board. “We have to be fiscally responsible, but try not to compromise the education of the kids.”

She fills the seat in Region 7, which covers Seven Fields and Evans City. Kelly Kopera resigned in early November citing health reasons. Kopera had two years remaining on her term.

The board approved Whittle's appointment in a 7-1 vote.

Mark Kline, a long-time North Hills School District educator and Evans City resident, also sought the seat. The board interviewed both candidates.

Board members Robert Hill, the Rev. Reid Moon, James Nickel, Timothy Hester, Jeanette Lahm, Frederick Peterson and James Welsh voted for Whittle. Board President Eric DiTullio voted for Kline.

Whittle said she has lived in the district for 13 years. She grew up in Penn Hills and attended college at American University in Washington. She worked in corporate retail and franchising in Atlanta before returning to the area.

Whittle and her husband have two daughters — one in seventh grade and one in ninth.

During her interview, Whittle told board members she wanted to serve on the board after spending 10 years volunteering in the schools with her daughters. As her children grew up, there were fewer opportunities to volunteer, so the board became her next calling.

Moon said the decision to appoint Whittle became clear to him as she spoke about her extensive volunteer experience.

“She understood the word serve, and she's lived that out. It didn't come down to professional qualifications or work experience — it was a heart for serving,” he said.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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