UCF names Lafferty new Unionville Elem. prinicipal

UCFSD ranked 15th best district in the U.S. by ‘The Street’

By Karen Cresta, Staff Writer, The Times


Unionville Elementary will have its new principal in January when Michelle Lafferty takes the helm. Starting next month, district director of curriculum and experienced elementary school principal John Nolen will fill the post on an interim basis.

EAST MARLBOROUGH – Michelle Lafferty sat beside her husband, Tom Lafferty, who was holding their two month old baby, August, at last night’s Unionville Chadds Ford School District (UCFSD) board meeting, as she listened to board members commend her on being the sole candidate who went to the final round of the interview process to become principal of Unionville Elementary (UE). The board approved Lafferty’s appointment along with her $125,000 annual salary.

Lafferty a fourth grade teacher of UE who is on maternity leave will be replacing Principal Clifton Beaver, who moved to Pocopson Elementary in August. She will begin the job as principal at UE effective on January 26. In the interim, John Nolen, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, will step into the role until Lafferty’s return. Currently, Dr. Edward Mackel is the interim principal until October 12, when Nolen — who has lengthy experience as an elementary school principal — will replace him.

“I think this is the only case where one candidate was so outstanding that she was sent to the final round of interviews alone. There was only one candidate that the village felt strongly enough about to go to the final round of interviews as the recommended candidate from the village. Michelle just blew us away. And what a great example of a teacher and of an administrator who already has the confidence of the staff and of the administration and I think that she is just a guarantee to do an awesome job,” said board member Jeff Hellrung.

“We are just so pleased to have her and to make this announcement tonight especially after the angst given the UE community because we needed Mr. Beaver in another assignment and he was gracious enough to move to Pocopson for us. So, in the end it’s going to work out beautifully,” Hellrung continued.

Board member Kathleen Do added, “We recognize that is was a difficult time for the Unionville Elementary School community to know that there would be a transition and we know how much they loved their principal but it’s very important for them to know that the board has made this a top priority and we are thrilled to have Michelle there and that she is going to be a wonderful steward for the school as she moves forward. Thank you so much, John, for being willing to step into that role and make sure that the people at Unionville, all of the students, as well as the families and the teachers know how important they are to our entire district.”

The board members all voted in favor of Lafferty’s appointment and she stated that she was “very, very excited and honored to be the next principal at Unionville Elementary.”

John Sanville, Superintendent, concluded, “We are so lucky to have you on board and this is the way things work in organizations. You have great people, and people move into new positions and the other thing that happens in organizations is that great people are with us and then they go on to their next great adventures.”

This recent change was among many that just occurred in August. In addition to Jim Conley being named new Unionville High School (UHS) principal after Paula Massanari retired, Amy Jenkins replaced Conley as assistant principal. The district started the new school year with 32 new employees.

In other news from the meeting, although some of the faces might be changing, one thing seems to remain consistent: that the district continues to rank highly among independent ratings of school districts.

UCFSD was recently ranked number 15 in the country by The Wall Street Journal’s on-line publication, “The Street.” Data was compiled by Niche.com who supplements basic test scores and advanced placement data along with other assessments. The on-line publication listed a grade of A+ for academics, an A+ for resources and facilities, a B- for student culture and diversity and a 4.2 rating out of 5 for overall experience from parent/student surveys. The site states that, “The Unionville-Chadds Ford School District has 4,018 students (K-12) and, based on Pennsylvania state standards, 93% of those students are proficient in math and/or reading. On average, students from this district who have taken the ACT scored a 29 out of 36. Students who have taken the SAT received scores of 630 in Math and Reading and 640 in Writing.”

Also, the board approved and awarded the tax collection software for installation and implementation for the 2016-2017 tax collection year to Harris School Solutions ProSoft at an initial cost of $16,200 plus annual maintenance fees of $2,160.

Also approved by a roll call vote were the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) elections. The PSBA, a non-profit statewide association of public school boards, represent more than 4,500 local school boards. The UCFSD board voted for Mark Miller as president, Robert Schwartz as vice-president and Gary Smedley as at-large representative (East).

The 2015-2016 student representative to the board and the senior class president, Alice Liu, was introduced. Liu, provided an update on the happenings in the high school which included updates for the new cyber café, a successful back to school night, upcoming SAT testing on October 14, spirit week, and Homecoming events scheduled for the weekend of October 19.

The next board work session will be held on October 19 instead of October 12 (Columbus Day) at the district office and the regular meeting will be held on October 26, at Unionville Elementary. A full schedule along with all board documents can be found on www.ucfsd.org.

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