Joseph Oliphant –CEO/Principal - Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Mr. Oliphant has worked as a classroom teacher, a technology director and as a school administrator for a variety of Pittsburgh area schools. He proudly considers himself a lifelong learner and has dedicated his career to empowering educators and students with skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.
Throughout his career, Mr. Oliphant has partnered with local business leaders, colleges, universities and regional training centers to strengthen post-secondary pathways in an effort to expose students to a variety of future-ready resources.
Mr. Oliphant has been trained in Human Centered Design and has incorporated design methods into teacher professional development in an effort to further engage and inspire educators in deeper learning competencies. In 2010, PAECT recognized Mr. Oliphant as Leader of the Year in the state of Pennsylvania. In 2019, Mr. Oliphant was selected for the School Retool Fellowship through the Stanford Design School.
Dr. Ray M. Milke – Director of Special Education/School Psychologist
Dr. Ray M. Milke was hired in October 2018 as the director of special education and student services for PACS. In addition to being an administrator, Dr. Milke is currently a school psychologist and maintains a private practice specializing in consulting, psychoeducational evaluations, and school neuropsychological evaluations. He has also worked as a school psychologist in several school districts in western Pennsylvania as well as the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit #7 and the Midwestern Intermediate Unit #4. Dr. Milke was the director of student support services for the Ligonier Valley School District for two years and held the same position for Kiski Area School District for over 15 years. Prior to his role as school psychologist and central office administrator, Dr. Milke worked as a research specialist at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). There, he performed neuropsychological evaluations and conducted various research projects. In 1998, he was published in the journal Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine and was the lead author for a research project published in 1999 by and for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration. Before working at WPIC/UPMC Dr. Milke provided psychological and assessment services to various school districts as well as business and industry.
Dr. Milke received his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and both his Master of Science and Education degree and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from Duquesne University. He received his doctoral degree in school psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Milke is one of only four school psychologists in western Pennsylvania to be certified in school neuropsychology by the American Board of School Neuropsychology.
Sharon Zaborowski – Business Manager
Ms. Sharon Zaborowski is the business/operations manager for PACS. Ms. Zaborowski has a degree in business administration and has worked with charter schools in the Pittsburgh area for more than 20 years. She is dedicated to assisting in the education process of our youth.
Raymond Rall – Attendance and Accountability Director/Social Studies Teacher/Safety Coordinator/Website
Mr. Raymond Rall is in his seventh year at PACS. He is the Attendance and Accountability Director and the Director of Safety. Mr. Rall has a master's degree in education from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as bachelor's degrees in history and media communication. He is in his tenth year of teaching overall and has worked previously at Summit Academy and Clayton Academy. Mr. Rall is a dedicated teacher who loves what he does and has a real passion for his students. He is certified in social studies, English and communications. He teaches Public Speaking, U.S. History, and Civics at PACS. Mr. Rall also works on the school's website.
Marla Malcolm – School Nurse
Mrs. Malcolm has been a school nurse for 15 years. She has her RNs license from Mercy School of Nursing and received her bachelor’s degree and school nurse certificate from Carlow University. Nurse Malcolm started her career at Brentwood School District as a school nurse then took some time off to have her children. She then did some part time work for Propel schools before getting a full time position at City Charter High School, where she was for the last 10 years. Nurse Malcolm spends her free time with her 4 teen age/young adult children and husband. She enjoys watching all sports especially when her children are playing.
Dellane Ratley-Fisher – Guidance Counselor
Mrs. Ratley-Fisher is currently the school counselor at PACS. In this capacity, she provides crisis intervention, conflict resolution, and career counseling—individually and in groups—to inner-city high-school youth from a diverse, largely low income population including emotionally disturbed children. Mrs. Ratley-Fisher is also a counseling consultant with Nisar Health and Human Services where she focuses on social behavior skills with her clients.
Prior to coming to PACS, Mrs. Ratley-Fisher taught entrepreneurship, marketing, career development, and business development at Career Connections Charter High School.
Mrs. Ratley-Fisher has also worked as the director of programs for the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship-Pittsburgh office.
Mrs. Ratley-Fisher graduated from David B. Oliver High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts in political science and business from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Her studies in education were conducted at Carlow University. In 2011, she completed her master's degree at Carlow University. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, the American Counseling Association, and the American School Counseling Association. She serves on several boards and works with several community and career-affiliated organizations.
Sequala M. Thomas – Director of Student Engagement
As a Hill District native, Ms. Sequala M. Thomas always dreamed of coming back and assisting her community with whatever was needed. She was confident that by pursing individual studies in various subjects, such as community outreach programs and after-school activities for troubled youth, and teaching herself how to become a diverse individual, her dreams and goals would become reality. Ms. Thomas graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Art in social work. She completed an internship at Gannondale Residential Home in Erie, Pennsylvania, where her love of helping people blossomed into a passion. With that experience, she became more interested in the school-based surrounding in those residential facilities for delinquent youth. Upon returning to Pittsburgh, she applied to Duquesne University's graduate program and was accepted. She knew that she would be continuing her education in something that would be a lifelong learning experience. Eager to be an agent of change in her community, she obtained a Masters of Education in school counseling. She has worked in many school-based programs and joined the PACS team five years ago. Ms. Thomas is the student services director and her office is located in the Guidance Department.
Sharon Merlack – Reading Specialist
Ms. Sharon Merlack has certifications in elementary education, secondary English, and as a reading specialist. She has a master's degree in education with a focus on reading from the University of Pittsburgh, through which she did a year-long internship in the Duquesne City School District. She began her teaching career in 1999, teaching middle school reading in the Fox Chapel Area District. In 2007, she took some time off to be a full-time mother to her 3 1/2-year-old daughter and newborn twin daughters. After returning to teaching in 2013, she took a long-term-substitute position as a reading teacher in Pine Richland Middle School and worked as a reading intervention specialist in the Wilkinsburg School District and for the AIU. She is excited to be teaching here at PACS and to be able to help the students achieve their reading goals.
Matthew Walters – Lead Teacher
Mr. Matthew Walters' love of literature brought him to Pittsburgh to study English writing at The University of Pittsburgh. English is one of his passions. He considers reading an essential means to understanding the world, ideas, and experiences that would otherwise be inaccessible. Some of his favorite authors include Langston Hughes, George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Ray Bradbury. In 2010, he graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a BA in English writing. Shortly after that, he began working with middle and high school students to help them achieve their goals. In 2017, Mr. Walters completed a master's program and earned his teaching certification at Point Park University. He taught English III and IV at Penn Hills High School during the 2017–2018 school year.
Steven Cercone – Science Teacher
Mr. Steven Cercone teaches biology and physical science. He graduated high school from Sewickley Academy and attended Colgate University where he majored in molecular biology. He started out as premed but eventually decided that teaching was a better path for him. To accomplish his goal of becoming a teacher, Mr. Cercone attended the University of Pittsburgh where he earned a master’s in education. His life goal is to share the knowledge he has accumulated with a future generation and to give back to society the valuable education he received. He truly values helping others and believes teaching is one of the best professions where one can help and give. In his spare time, he loves playing ultimate frisbee and Japanese animation. He is also an avid chess player and nature lover. Mr. Cercone invites students to get to know him and can’t wait to work with you!
Rachel Heusey – Special Education Teacher
Ms. Rachel Heusey is the special education teacher at PACS. She has a master's degree in special education from Waynesburg University. She has worked in the special education field for over 10 years, engaging with children and students from ages 3 to 21. This is her second year at PACS. She collaborates with the regular education teachers and the students to find ways to support the students in earning their diploma. Mrs. Heusey provides individualized assistance at the student's request and performs check-ins on each student's individual plans throughout the week. The fully inclusive setting provides real-life learning experiences for the students she works with as well as promotes self-advocacy skills. She works with the OVR representative to provide postgraduate job training and education. She also collaborates with the Early Reach Initiative to provide groups on Pre-Employment Transition Services such as training on soft skills, self-advocacy, application/resume/cover letter writing, interviewing, and personal finance.
Mike Osiecki – Special Education Teacher
Mr. Mike Osiecki is a special education teacher at PACS. He has a bachelor's degree in special education from California University of Pennsylvania with certifications in elementary education and middle school civics. He has worked in the field for almost 20 years now. Mr. O enjoys working with the population and collaborating with his new colleagues. His goal is to help as many students get diplomas as possible. In his free time, Mr. O enjoys landscaping, cooking, and spending time with his wife. His other passion is coaching basketball, he currently is head coach of the East Allegheny girl's basketball team and assistant boy's coach.
Benjamin Barley – ESL Teacher
Mr. Barley is the English as a Second Language (ESL) and Electives Teacher at PACS. He was born and raised in Pittsburgh and currently lives in Dormont. His educational background consists of a Bachelor of Education degree from Penn State University and a Master of Education in ESL degree from California University. Some of Mr. Barley's interests include yoga, traveling, soccer, and rock n roll music. In his free time, he teaches adult ESL classes for Literacy Pittsburgh at his local library and referees college soccer matches.
John Drzik – Math Teacher
Mr. Drzik graduated from Beaver Falls High School in 2006 and graduated from Geneva College in 2011 with a B.S. degree in Secondary Math Education. He has taught math in several schools, including teaching Algebra and Geometry as a member of the faculty at Quigley Catholic High School from 2018-2020. His primary hobby is music both vocal and instrumental. Drzik currently serves as drumline coach at both Beaver Falls HS and at Geneva College.
James Henderson – School Security/Food Services
Mr. James Henderson has been with PACS for almost four-and-one-half years. His position is security and head of food services. One of his main jobs is to make sure the building is secure.
Gale Evans – School Security/Food Services
Ms. Gale Evans has been with PACS for almost three years. Her job entails security and food services. As part of her duties, she meets and greet people as they come into the school. She has a great relationship with the students.