Shellie A. Feola
POTTSTOWN PA – Why wait 12 months, the Pottsgrove School District Board of School Directors reasoned, for a leadership appointment it could make after only 10 weeks?
The board Friday (Dec. 7, 2012) announced its intent to name Shellie Feola as the district’s permanent superintendent, after having served slightly more than two months of a one-year interim appointment as acting superintendent. It scheduled a special meeting Dec. 11 (Tuesday) at 6:30 p.m. in the district office, 1301 Kauffman Rd., to finalize a 5-year employment contract that will pay Feola a pro-rated salary of $169,500 in her first year.
The meeting is open to the public. The board announcement follows a closed-door executive session on personnel matters held after its meeting earlier this week.
“The board took time to think deeply about how best to move the district forward,” President Scott Fulmer said in Friday’s e-mailed statement. “We debated whether to conduct an outside search. Ultimately we decided to stay with Ms. Feola since we already had so much confidence in her. She already knows the district so well.”
Feola became acting superintendent Oct. 8, when then-Superintendent Dr. Bradley Landis left the job to take a position with the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit in Norristown PA. As part of her employment agreement, directors said Feola’s salary will be retroactive to the day she took over as Pottsgrove’s chief operating officer. She worked as assistant superintendent to Landis since 2007.
Fulmer said Feola’s “great depth of experience in personnel (and) curriculum,” were important in the board decision, as well as her familiarity “with the increasing challenges of ‘No Child Left Behind’ and all the other federal requirements and high-stakes testing.”
His comment on testing references, in part, the poor past performance of Pottsgrove students on Pennsylvania standardized exams. Under Landis’ direction, Feola – a human resources expert with a degree in psychology – has led the district’s multi-year efforts to change its schools’ curriculum and how teachers approach it to enhance student learning and understanding.
State and federal educational requirements, which have been in flux over several years, are changing again to a system of common core standards. They represent a map of subject material to be mastered by students nationwide at every grade level. Feola and other administrators have headed up a series of recent “Community Connection” meetings to ensure parents and others know what will be expected of their children.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to continue to lead the district to new levels of achievement,” Feola said. “We are working diligently to ensure that our curriculum is aligned to the new common core state standards, and that our instructional practices ensure we maintain a high level of rigor. We are also focusing on individualizing instruction in the classroom in order to meet the varied learning needs of all students.”
Feola, left, was all smiles as she joined the school board Tuesday in congratulating the championship-winning Pottsgrove High School Marching Band directed by Victor Holladay
Before her arrival at Pottsgrove, Feola was director of human resources in the Pennridge School District, Bucks County. From 1998 to 2004 she was principal of Willets Middle School in Brunswick OH, and in 1997 and 1998 she was an assistant principal of Dave Middle School in Kent OH.
Feola earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and completed her master’s in educational leadership (administration) at Florida Atlantic University. She received her superintendent certification from the University of Akron, where she also completed doctoral coursework in educational administration.
Locally, Feola volunteers as president of Camp Rainbow Inc. in Schwenksville, an organization that helps children from socially and economically challenged families in Montgomery County. It annually provides several weeks of physically and emotionally safe overnight camping experiences to kids between the ages of 7 and 16.
Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ meeting of Dec. 4):