West Chester Area School Board member Kate Shaw resigned at the Feb. 27 meeting. Although she is leaving the board before the end of her term in December for work-related reasons, she mentioned a petition that some community members brought against five board members, including Shaw, over their votes to impose masks “during a global pandemic that killed over 1 million people” in her farewell remarks.

However, some experts said mandatory masks harmed the children that well-meaning officials meant to protect. A judge ruled for the petitioners, then reversed himself the next day. The five board members had voted to keep students masked despite a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling against it.

“It’s been an honor and privilege like none other,” said Shaw about her eight years on the school board. But community criticism of the board in the last two years, she said, has “done real damage.”

One of the parents who brought that petition, Beth Ann Rosica, is vying to replace Shaw.

Rosica is a parent advocate with a Ph.D. in educational leadership and owns a public relations and consulting business. She was the executive director and chief strategy officer of Back to School PAC, which backed school board candidates around the state who opposed closing schools during the COVID pandemic. She was also a vice president at a national company that runs programs to help families and youth. Rosica has also been an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I would like the opportunity to serve on our board because I care deeply about our community and our students, particularly our most vulnerable children,” Rosica said. “I think it is important for every school board to have a heterogeneous mix of directors to ensure a balanced, non-partisan approach to decision-making. With a Ph.D. in education and as the owner of a successful business, I believe that I have a variety of skills that would be helpful to the other board members and ultimately to our community.”

The board has also contended with critics who oppose teaching Critical Race Theory and gender theory to young children. As well as parents who object to the district not telling them if their children are talking about changing their gender and want to use different names and pronouns.

The school district asked people who live in District One and would like to serve on the board for the remainder of Shaw’s term, which ends in December, to apply. The West Chester Area School Board Directors will hold a Special Board Meeting next Monday at 7:00 p.m. in the Spellman Education Center, 782 Springdale Dr. in Exton to appoint a candidate to fill the vacant school board seat.


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