Board Of Trustees


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Dr. Tricia Shelton, President – exp. June 2026

Dr. Tricia Shelton, a resident of Monroeville, PA, has a 20-year career in education, first as an early childhood educator, and later as a grade-level coach.  She also earned a Pennsylvania Administrator K-12 certificate and worked as a K-4 building principal. Currently, Dr. Shelton is an Assistant Professor and Director of Field Placement at Seton Hill University. In this role, she prepares future early childhood teachers and school leaders. Dr. Shelton has research interests centered in culturally inclusive practices. With the support of the Working for Kids: Building Skills Foundation, she has developed curricula to teach complex problem-solving skills to adolescents in a variety of school settings.  A significant component of the program design is its integration of decision-making skill practice in traditional academic content.

Further, Dr. Shelton has authored several publications on various other strands of the inclusion topic, including a recent book with Gryphon House, Practical Strategies for Supporting Young Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders (2016), which was honored with a 2018 Preschool Teachers’ Choice Award.  She also has presented at state, regional, and national conferences.

Allen Zeolla, Treasurer – exp. June 2025

Allen Zeolla is an Accountant, an Accredited Asset Management Specialist, and President of AZ
Financial INC. Allen’s main business focus is Financial and Retirement Planning for individuals
working as an Investment Advisor Royal Alliance. In addition to this work, he also prepares
approximately 300 Tax Returns for individuals and small businesses, a Medicare Advantage Plan
consultant. His past job experiences include Auditing and Cost Accounting work. Allen has
volunteered his services to the School Board in hopes that his Financial, Accounting, and
Auditing background will be of value to the Board with the ongoing Financial and Procedural
work needed by the Board.

Dr. Peter Gianiodis – exp. June 2026

Dr. Peter Gianiodis is the inaugural holder of the Merle E. Gilliand Professorship in Entrepreneurial
Finance at the Palumbo Donahue School of Business, Duquesne University. He received his
Ph.D from the Terry College of Business, University of Georgia. His research focuses on
competitive dynamics and market entry, university technology commercialization, sustainable
entrepreneurship, and social enterprising. He is on several editorial boards and currently on the
board of directors of the Sustainability, Ethics & Entrepreneurship (SEE) Conference. In his
spare time, he enjoys playing tennis, golf and hiking, and spending time with his wife and three

Darren McCormick – exp. June 2026

Darren McCormick is from Valencia, PA and brings many years of higher and public education experience to the Board of Trustees. Mr. McCormick is the College & Career Counselor at Imani Christian Academy. He has also worked in the admissions departments of a number of Pennsylvania colleges and universities over the years, specializing in minority student recruitment, advancement, and retention. He previously served as an academic advisor and black male mentor for NEED, the Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that aims to unlock the power of higher education for minority youth in the city.

Dr. Sharon McDaniel – exp. June 2024

Dr. Sharon L. McDaniel is the founder, president and CEO of A Second Chance, Inc. (ASCI), the nation’s leading nonprofit voice on kinship care. She has more than 36 years of professional experience as an award-winning child welfare leader in Pennsylvania.Civically, she is the president of Black Administrators in Child Welfare, on the board of Coro Pittsburgh, the founder and immediate past president of the African American Strategic Partnership and a board member at Footbridge for Families. Over the past 36 years, Dr. McDaniel has authored several articles and papers on child welfare and has received numerous local and national honors and awards. She has also been devoted to higher education, earning her master’s degree followed by her doctorate in education, as well as attending Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government for Executive Education in Nonprofit Governance and the University of Chicago’s Executive Education in Investment Management. She is currently a second-time doctoral candidate. Additionally, as a sought-after lecturer, she has presented at the University of Barcelona, Oxford University, Howard University and others.

Deborah Norrell – exp. June 2025

New Pittsburgh Courier Lifestyle Editor Debbie Norrell is a professional actress with credits that include community theatre, television, radio and feature films. As a polished professional emcee and keynote speaker, Norrell shares her story of surviving breast cancer, “Breaking the Chains of Debt and still getting your shop on” and reinventing yourself. She considers herself a shopping connoisseur and is always in search of a stylish bargain. As the creator of the “Goodwill Hunting Tour” this best dressed woman loves a bargain and often features “cheap thrills” in the New Pittsburgh Courier where she has been the Lifestyle Editor for 18 years. Norrell has added color commentary to thousands of fashion shows for more than 40 years and is an award winning speaker and journalist. As a former member of Toastmasters International, Norrell has won more than a dozen awards. In 2013 she was inducted into The Pittsburgh Fashion Week Hall of Fame and in that same year was named Style Icon of the year by Style and Steel Pittsburgh. 2015 Norrell was named Business Woman of the Year by the Pittsburgh Club of the NANBPWC, Inc. In 2016 she accepted The Media Legacy Award from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation. Debbie recently retired from her “day job” where she was a client trainer for US Bank for over 18 years. Norrell is most proud of her media career at WCXJ, WAMO, WJJJ, and numerous local and national television commercials. She is a two time breast cancer survivor.

Alexis Steals – exp. June 2025

Alexis James Steals is a seasoned Financial Services professional with over 25 years of experience in Treasury Management and Corporate Banking. Alexis has spent much of her career working for financial service providers such as PNC Bank, National City Bank, and Bank of New York Mellon where she held positions such as Product Manager, Project Manager, and Training and Development Program Manager. Alexis currently serves as a Senior Vice President at TriState Capital Bank where she is seen as a thought leader and product strategist for the Deposit and Liquidity business line.

While she is extremely grateful for her unexpected career in Financial Services, becoming a high school English teacher was Alexis’ original career goal. Her desire to teach was designed to give her the opportunity to impact the lives of students in a meaningful way. With that dream deferred, Alexis finds herself serving on non-profit boards who support children and families, and she participates in volunteer activities with schools and other nonprofit organizations. It is through her volunteer work and fundraising efforts that Alexis fulfills her aspirations to positively impact the lives of children and families.

Dr. DaVonna Shannon – exp. October 2026

Dr. DaVonna Shannon, is the Director of Research and Impact for the Early Excellence Project. In this role, she designs the strategic research and policy agenda for the organization’s efforts to professionalize the early childhood education industry.

Dr. Shannon is also the owner and Principal Consultant of A. Shannon Consulting LLC., an equity-focused firm that guides clients through programmatic evaluation, improvement and growth.
Dr. Shannon is a professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Education department of Urban Education. Her research centers on the activism of Black women educators toward improving the educational experiences and life outcomes of Black children.

Lena Abdullah-Perry – exp. October 2026

Ms. Abdullah-Perry has a long history of working with children. After completing her Bachelor’s in English Literature, she began working with children in the mental health field for several years. She pursued a Master’s in Counseling Psychology until beginning a new career path in Early Childhood Education in 2009. Ms. Abdullah-Perry began working at the Penn Hills YMCA in, where she became the Site Director of a new Before and After School Program at a newly established charter school for entrepreneurship. She continued that role until 2017, when she became a Program Director at another YMCA site. However, she returned to the Before and After School program in 2019 and led several programs at various school districts, including South Allegheny, Gateway, North Allegheny, and Penn Hills. Ms. Abdullah-Perry is currently a Master’s candidate at Carlow University, studying Curriculum and Instruction: Early Childhood Leadership.

Our governing board is comprised of dedicated members of the Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship community. We are grateful for their continued governance, guidance, and leadership!

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Board Committees: (Public meetings are held bi-monthly via Zoom. Email for meeting information)

  • Academic & Entrepreneurship Committees – 2nd Wednesday of the month at 9 am
  • Finance & Facilities Committees – 3rd Thursday of the month at 4 pm

View Board Policies Table of Contents
View Right to Know Policy

Hard copies of our school board policies are located at the school’s business office, 7336 Saltsburg Road, Pittsburgh PA 15235. Please email to request copies.


NOTICE is hereby given that the Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship School Board will hold meetings on the fourth Thursday of every other month and will begin at 7:00 p.m., 2501 Main Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15235. The dates are as follows: