Q. You are beginning the 2012-2013 school year as the new principal at Parkland High School. What changes should students and parents expect in the educational program?
A. The educational program at its core will not change much. Parkland’s curriculum is both rigorous and robust, allowing it to meet the needs of all types of students. The immediate changes students and parents will see emanate from the state’s recent changes to its assessment to be utilized for accountability purposes. For students in grades 9-11, the PSSA has been replaced by the Keystone Exams (Algebra, English Literature & Biology). Implementing the Keystone Exams will affect our assessment calendar and require some adjustments in curricular and instructional practices.
Q. One of the changes outside of the classroom is a new bus policy for seniors, a money-saving move to cut down on bus costs at the high school. Can you explain the new policy and how that will save money?
A. In previous years, Parkland allocated a bus seat for every student in the high school. The new practice takes into account students who are now driving to school and no longer require transportation. Parkland High School now has less students requiring transportation and consequently, saving money by needing less bus runs to and from the high school. It is important to note that if a student who has been driving would need school district transportation, a simple call to the transportation office will reserve a seat for the student.
Q. You’ve transitioned from an urban school (Allentown) to a suburban one. What’s different, as far as challenges go?
A. High schools by themselves are unique entities so learning the culture of how things are done in a new school is important. The school district and high school administrative team provide great levels of support whenever a question arises. Schools require teamwork from all facets of the organization and that is truly evident in Parkland. The students will be arriving shortly and once that occurs I am sure we'll have some occasional mountains to climb.
Q. One of the former principals at the high school played guitar, another tossed cabers (large wooden poles) at Celtic games. What secret talents might you have?
A. While I enjoy acoustical guitar and watching the Celtic games, I am not skilled in either area. I love the outdoors and sports in general. I have always enjoyed playing roller hockey so I expanded that endeavor into playing in an adult ice hockey league. I absolutely love the challenge of developing my ice hockey skills and it is a great form of exercise.
Q. What’s your leadership style?
A. I have a collaborative leadership style. Successful schools engage their stakeholders in the challenges of their work and an important aspect of my position is to guide the school while providing support to our administrators and teachers as we strive to achieve our goals. There are times when a situation might need a different approach so you need to be able to adapt your style when needed. But I definitely believe more sustained progress is achieved through a collaborative leadership approach.