WPIAL adds board of directors seat exclusively for private schools

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Monday, July 19, 2021 | 10:30 PM


Private schools in the WPIAL soon will have their own seat on the board.

As the WPIAL entered a new school year, the board voted Monday to add a 20th seat earmarked exclusively for private schools. Those schools were left without a representative when longtime WPIAL board member Bill Cleary retired this summer as Serra Catholic athletic director, ending his tenure on the board.

There are 10 at-large seats on the board that are elected each year. With Cleary not running for re-election, all 10 went to public school employees for the 2021-22 school year.

“We were fortunate to have Bill be elected every year,” WPIAL executive director Amy Scheuneman said. “That allowed that (private school) representation without necessarily changing the dichotomy of the board. Without that position being elected (this year), we wanted to make sure we have somebody in the room that can represent that group of schools.”

Scheuneman said the WPIAL will solicit candidates to fill the position. The chosen candidate will serve a one-year term and can be reappointed by the board each year.

“Recognizing there might be different challenges or concerns from a private school’s stance, we wanted to have somebody representing the group in the room,” Scheuneman said.

Another task facing the WPIAL board was filling the vacant seat of former Woodland Hills athletic director Ron Coursey, who won re-election but accepted a job in Chambersburg. The board appointed Fox Chapel athletic director Michael O’Brien to replace Coursey.

O’Brien was an incumbent member but had failed to earn re-election this summer when he finished 11th in the voting for the 10 at-large seats.

“He was the next-highest vote (total) in the election,” Scheuneman said, “so it goes to the next person in line.”

Two new members joined the board this summer.

McKeesport superintendent Mark Holtzman will represent WPIAL superintendents, a position that comes with a two-year term. Marlynn Love, a resident in the Gateway school district, was appointed as female parent representative, a one-year position.

Eligibilities

The WPIAL board granted eligibility to nearly 40 transfers including to multi-sport sophomore Vernon Settles, a transfer from Elizabeth Forward to Central Catholic. He’s fully eligible for the regular season and postseason.

As a freshman, Settles was a 17-point scorer on EF’s basketball team and a starter for the football team. He’s the nephew of former Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch.

The WPIAL board voted to hold eligibility hearings for three transfers:

• Greensburg Central Catholic junior Cadence Peters, a basketball player who transferred from Greensburg Salem.

• Seton LaSalle juniors Aiden Price and Ty Tamborino, multi-sport athletes who transferred from Baldwin.

The WPIAL also is expected to schedule a hearing in early August to decide a waiver request from Gateway senior Brett Birch, a transfer from Jeannette who’s seeking postseason eligibility in football. Birch, a wide receiver and defensive back, was previously ruled eligible for the regular season.

His younger brother Brad Birch, a sophomore quarterback, already is fully eligible at Gateway.

The WPIAL on Monday denied postseason eligibility to Chartiers Valley junior Drew Sleva (basketball) and Sto-Rox senior Trashaun Barron (football). Sleva transferred from Montour. Barron transferred from Penn Hills.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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