After 2 years, West Jefferson Hills superintendent's termination hearing to resume

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Two years after being fired from her post as superintendent of the West Jefferson Hills School District, Terry Kinavey's termination hearing will resume Oct. 9.

Mrs. Kinavey was fired by the school board in September 2010 after a public termination hearing that lasted through 15 sessions from January to May 2010. She was accused of intervening to block the hiring of a high school English and reading teacher and not being forthcoming about her actions after the fact.

She was also accused of plagiarizing letters and documents sent to parents and staff in the fall of 2009.

After she was fired, Mrs. Kinavey appealed to Common Pleas Court, where Judge Alan Hertzberg in May 2011 remanded the case back to the school board and ordered that the district provide for Mrs. Kinavey information that her attorney alleged she had been denied and to hold additional hearing sessions based on any new information uncovered.

The hearing had been set to resume in late October 2011 but was canceled at the last minute because Mrs. Kinavey's attorney, Ernest DeHaas, said he did not have the information he was seeking. Mr. DeHaas could not be reached for comment.

Stacy Vernallis, the attorney representing the district, said the district has spent about $50,000 identifying and making available some 200,000 electronic records, including emails that were requested by Mrs. Kinavey and her attorney. Ms. Vernallis said hearing officer Michael Palumbo set the Oct. 9 date for the start of the hearing and told the parties to also reserve Oct. 11 and 12 in case those days are needed for testimony as well. A location has yet to be determined.

"The district welcomes the opportunity to explore any new and different information not already exhaustively presented during the 15-day hearing," Ms. Vernallis said.

The first hearing included testimony from 12 witnesses and the introduction of more than 100 exhibits.

Ms. Vernallis said that Mr. DeHaas has requested that school director Shauna D'Alessandro be available to testify.

Mrs. Kinavey filed a separate lawsuit against Mrs. D'Alessandro in which she accused her of acting outside of her scope as a school director in gathering information used to terminate Mrs. Kinavey and of influencing other board members to go along with her.

That suit was dismissed by Common Pleas Court, but Mrs. Kinavey has appealed to state Superior Court, where oral arguments are being heard today.

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Mary Niederberger: mniederberger@post-gazette.com; 412-263-1590.


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