Penn Hills School Board member resigns to focus on social justice |

Penn Hills School Board member resigns to focus on social justice

Michael DiVittorio
Denise Graham-Shealey

Denise Graham-Shealey has stepped down from the Penn Hills School Board.

“My roots are in advocacy, and I look forward to returning all of my time and attention to it,” Graham-Shealey wrote in her resignation letter submitted to district officials March 25.

The board voted to accept her resignation that evening.

“I wish her all the luck in the world in her endeavors,” board President Erin Vecchio said.

Graham-Shealey is in the final year of her second four-year term on the board and had announced months earlier that she was not running for re-election.

District officials said letters of interest for the position will be accepted through April 12.

The board has 30 days to fill the vacancy before registered district voters can petition Allegheny County courts to do it. That person would serve through early December, when the board reorganizes following an election.

The next regularly scheduled voting meeting is April 29, which means school district officials may have to have a special meeting for the appointment.

Graham-Shealey, a former board president, said she’s most proud of the improved communication among the district, students and parents developed during her time on the board.

“There are some fantastic teachers in our district,” she said. “Every parent in the Penn Hills School District should continue to advocate for quality education for their child. … I wish the district all the success in the world. I just have other things going on now, and my passion lies somewhere else.”

Her decision to resign from the board came after former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld was acquitted in the shooting death of Antwon Rose II, 17.

A jury on March 22 found Rosfeld not guilty on all charges filed in connection with the fatal shooting of the unarmed black teen as he ran from a June 19 traffic stop in East Pittsburgh.

The verdict sparked demonstrations in Pittsburgh and surrounding communities. Graham-Shealey was in those crowds and other similar protests during the past few years.

She declined to comment directly on the trial other than to say the verdict impacted many people.

“The verdict made a lot of us rethink our purpose, and I believe my purpose is on the front line,” she said.

Those interested in filling the vacancy can submit letters and resumes to the district office, 260 Aster St., Pittsburgh, PA 15235.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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