Head of School Darryl J. Ford announced on Feb. 17 the appointment of Kathryn McCallum as the new director of Lower School, effective July 1. Below is the text of Ford's communication to PC parents.
With great excitement, I write to announce my appointment of Kathryn E. McCallum, an experienced independent and public school educator, as our new Director of Lower School. Kate will join us on July 1.
Kate's appointment concludes a national search, led by Assistant Head of School Beth Glascott, during which we attracted exceedingly strong candidates. More than 50 educators applied for the position, and our search committee interviewed 12 candidates. We invited three finalists to Penn Charter for interviews with administrators, teachers and parents. I am grateful to Beth, co-clerks Charlie Kaesshaefer and Beckie Miller, and all the members of the Search Committee for their excellent work, and I am pleased with the result.
Kate's experience, knowledge and interpersonal skills impressed us all.
She has served as Head of Middle School at Woodlynde School; as gifted teacher and coordinator of gifted programs in the Springfield School District; and she has taught fourth and fifth grades in the Radnor, Colonial and Rose Tree Media School districts.
Kate holds a doctorate and MS in reading, writing and literacy, and an MS in elementary education, from the University of Pennsylvania; and, from Villanova University, a BA in political science and an honors BA in interdisciplinary liberal arts.
Kate's professional colleagues and our Search Committee identified her many strengths, describing her as:
- a passionate and engaging teacher and administrator,
- a change agent who works collaboratively with others to find solutions,
- a strong advocate for diversity and equity within the curriculum and the school community.
In her own educational philosophy, Kate states the following:
"My philosophy is grounded in the belief that the ultimate purpose of education is to help our children grow academically, socially, physically and emotionally into self-sufficient, global citizens. The students are the central focus of any school community and should be given every opportunity to learn and grow in a safe, caring and challenging environment. All planning and actions should be based on what is best for children, keeping in mind the needs of faculty and staff, parents and families, and other community stakeholders."
Kate's focus on children, strength in collaborating with parents, and track record of leading teachers make her uniquely qualified to help lead our Lower School into the future. I could not be more excited that Kate, her husband, Charles (Chaz) McCallum, and their 14-month-old daughter, Elle, will join our community in just a few short months.
Kate comes to Penn Charter after much positive growth and development of our Lower School. Under David Kern's leadership, our curriculum has been strengthened. David has supported professional development to enhance the teaching and learning of reading and writing (utilizing the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University); overseen with colleagues the implementation of Math in Focus; worked to make certain that specials classes and teachers are better integrated into the educational program; and focused the work of the Learning Support team to best meet students' needs.
When I asked David, my colleague and friend, to come to Penn Charter, our Lower School program was in a different place. His hard and steadfast work with our talented faculty has positively positioned our Lower School, and we are fully enrolled and poised for more exciting collaborations and innovations in curriculum. For this, I am thankful. I ask you to join me in thanking David over these next several months, and in welcoming Kate to our community.
Darryl J. Ford
Beth Glascott, clerk
Charlie Kaesshaefer, co-clerk
Beckie Miller, co-clerk