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Message from the School Board
As elected officials of the West Jefferson Hills School District, we would like to thank you for entrusting us to advocate for you and your children. We understand the impact of our decisions and how they directly affect you, the community at large, and the academic future of our students. With this in mind, we have, as a board of ten, publicly pledged to abide by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association’s Standards for Effective Board Governance and Code of Conduct for School Directors by adopting these Standards as Board policy and recommitting to follow them annually.

According to the Iowa Study’s findings, we have learned that what happens in the boardroom has a direct effect on what occurs in the classroom. The data proves that good schools cannot be maintained without good school boards. The correlation between an effective school board and increased student achievement has been demonstrated, regardless of the financial resources of the district’s community. In short, our students’ success depends, in large part, on our ability to work as a team. For this reason, we are striving for excellence at the board level because we know that our performance directly impacts the lives of our students. In order to remind ourselves of the need for ongoing collaborative team effort in our decision-making, we have taken the additional measure of incorporating detailed Commitments for Cooperation for acceptable behavior in our role as School Directors. We have pledged to perform our elected duties with our vision of a shared partnership with the other essential members of our team: our district administration, faculty, staff, and you, our community members. We discourage micromanaging and personal agendas. We have encouraged open and honest communication among ourselves, our staff, our administration, and our community. We have also outlined a Chain of Command for addressing your concerns, which offers direction for parents and students when a situation, issue, or unresolved question arises. This Chain of Command also offers conformity and continuity in dealing with a question or concern so as to encourage fair and equal treatment and to eliminate the opportunity for preference. 

The following details the recommended Chain of Command Process

  • Document the situation
  • Notify the teacher If not satisfied with the outcome, notify the building principal
  • If the situation remains unresolved, notify the Assistant Superintendent or the Superintendent
  • If the issue continues to remain unresolved, please document the details of the situation and request that copies of such documentation be provided to all members of the Board so that all School Directors have access to the details of the matter

    We hope this information proves useful to you and your family, and we would like to thank you for your sustained commitment as essential members of the West Jefferson Hills School District team. We, serving on the Board of School Directors, remain steadfast in our focus on our students as they continue in their pursuit of academic achievements and educational excellence. We pledge that the goal of student achievement will continue to be the focus of every decision we make. Thank you for your continued support of these efforts, for together, we can accomplish “whatever it takes” to make a difference in our children’s lives.


    Dr. Michael Ghilani
    ,  Superintendent
    Brian Fernandes
    , Board President
    Suzanne Downer
    , Board Vice President
    John Hosmer, Board Vice President
    Jill Bertini
    Dave Dominick 
    Kimberley Finnerty 
    Kerri Gonot
    Kristin Shoemaker 
    Christopher Zacur
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