New West Jefferson Hills special ed supervisor focused on restorative practices
Jade Fiore plans to bring her extensive experience in special education and restorative practice training to West Jefferson Hills when she joins the district as the supervisor of special education/pupil services this spring.
The West Jefferson Hills School Board hired Fiore, 34, of South Fayette, Feb. 26.
She will earn a salary of $105,000, with plans to start no later than April 29.
“I’m excited to take this next step,” she said.
Fiore will assume the role being vacated by nine-year special education supervisor Elizabeth Wheat, who is retiring at the end of the 2018-19 school year. Wheat will work with Fiore to “show her the ropes” during an overlap period before she retires, Superintendent Michael Ghilani said.
Fiore was selected out of a pool of 28 candidates who applied for the position. The superintendent said the district conducted three rounds of interviews before finally selecting Fiore.
She stood out for “her experience, her personality, her knowledge,” Ghilani said.
Fiore graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in special education. She attended Edinboro University for her supervision of special education and principal certification.
Fiore has worked as a program officer in Pittsburgh Public Schools for three years and was previously a special education teacher.
She also is a restorative practice and quality based solution trainer.
West Jefferson Hills has a goal to train every principal in restorative practices by next year, Ghilani said.
Restorative practice is “kind of a tweaked remediation,” Ghilani said.
Instead of just punishing a student who has done something wrong, the idea is to work with the student to “restore or repair the environment from what happened,” he said.
For instance, if a student vandalizes a wall, rather than simply suspending them, administrators also would require the student repaint the wall.
“We want to be sitting students down, have trained people in the district to work them through their problem and for people to take ownership of what they did and understand why it was inappropriate, but to also be empathetic and understand how the person feels on the other side and the potential pain and grief that they caused by what they did or said,” Ghilani said.
Fiore has used these practices to repair relationships and help students understand right from wrong in many school environments.
“We talk about what went wrong and how can we fix that and how can we do better next time,” she said.
Fiore’s first goal will be to get to know the students, staff and parents in West Jefferson Hills and the culture of the district, she said.
She will use the same approach for overseeing the district’s new Life Skills program.
“It’s just understanding where they are and talking to them about their goals,” she said. “I’m a compliance-driven person.”