Amid all of the turmoil in the educational community over school funding, standardized testing and teacher preparedness, the Pittsburgh School Board has had steady, stable leadership from its presidents. Last Monday, in electing Sharene Shealey to take the reins, the board made a sound choice to continue that pattern.
Ms. Shealey, 40, of North Point Breeze, brings valuable, dual perspectives to the position because she is both a city homeowner and a public school parent -- one of her children attends Obama 6-12 and two are students at Colfax K-8. Herself a graduate of Pittsburgh's former Peabody High School, Ms. Shealey said her early education prepared her for future study, first at Howard University where she earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and then at Carnegie Mellon University where she got a master's in the field.
Manager of environmental operations/air quality for GenOn Energy Inc., Ms. Shealy first was elected to the board in 2009, representing District 1, and she has served as the board's first vice president.
She now succeeds board member Sherry Hazuda of Beechview, who nominated Ms. Shealey for the presidency after serving in that role for the past two years. Ms. Hazuda, likewise, had been nominated by her precedessor, Theresa Colaizzi. They were joined in voting for Ms. Shealey by Jean Fink, Bill Isler and Floyd McCrea. Three nays were cast by Regina Holley, Mark Brentley and Thomas Sumpter.
Ms. Shealey takes over leadership of the board at a difficult time, when the district's financial pressures are growing and student performance is dropping. She seems ideally prepared, with an understanding of the importance of providing a solid foundation for the district's children while being attuned to the financial constraints on the district.
As we thank Ms. Hazuda for her service, we wish Ms. Shealey well as she begins to lead the Pittsburgh Public Schools forward.