UCF mourns the passing of Miller

Board reluctantly OKs resignation of Batchelor, hired as new Radnor Superintendent

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

ucflogowebWith no small amount of sadness, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District Board of Education said goodbye to two long-time pillars of the district while welcoming a new senior administrator, Monday, during its annual reorganization meeting.

Denise Miller, who long served as secretary to the Superintendent — including current Superintendent John Sanville — passed away Monday after a long illness. Miller also supported the board administratively and in general helped keep the trains running on time. Board members and administrators all noted her dedication and how enjoyable she was to work with.

“She was such a great part of our district, and such a great part of the working cohesiveness and camaraderie of this board,” Sanville said. “She is going to be a great loss to the district, the board and me personally.”

The second goodbye is much more bittersweet: Assistant to the Superintendent Ken Batchelor, who has served the district as a teacher, principal and administrator for parts of two decades offered his resignation, effective Jan. 27, 2017 in order to become Superintendent of Radnor School District.

A more formal salute and sendoff for Batchelor is planned for the January board meeting — but again, board member all offered praise for him and wished him well.

The district’s current Director of Curriculum, John Nolen, was singled out as the likely candidate to replace Batchelor.

Along with those leaving, the district formally hired its new Director of Technology, effective in January — Justin Webb. Webb comes to Unionville-Chadds Ford from Spring-Ford School District, where he held the same title. Webb, who will earn $131,500 annually, was the top pick out of nearly 50 applicants for the position.

He spoke briefly about the strong reputation of the school district and said he appreciates the opportunity to become part of it.

During the reorganization portion of the meeting, Victor Dupuis was reelected as board president and Jeffrey Hellrung was reelected as Vice President. Dupuis won by an 8-1 margin, with Michael Rock voting for Gregg Lindner. Hellrung won by an 7-2 margin, with Rock and Lindner voting for Lindner.

Two former board members — Timotha Trigg and Holly Manzone — spoke during the resident comment section of the meeting offering concerns about adopting the International Baccalaureate program, which is currently under preliminary study by the district for use at Unionville High School. Trigg deeply questioned the program, calling it a “terrible idea.” Manzone offered some praise for it, but said she thought it was a poor fit for the district.

The district is expected to study the IB program for at least another year before making any decisions, officials said.

Finally, Rock said he continues to be disappointed with the district’s response to concerns offered by minority students, and twice quoted a column in The Times last week taking the district to task on the issue.

He offered four recommendations: a public statement of support for minority students; a series of public meetings to discuss the issue; a need to engage with senior administrators on diversity and finally, that the district should adopt a diversity plan. He cited the plan from Bryn Mawr College, where Rock is a professor.

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