an unexpected adverse development during the
remaining review process, the Brandywine school
board will hire James Scanlon, superintendent of the
Quakertown (Pa.) Community School District, to be
Brandywine board president
Craig Gilbert said he and vice president Nancy Doorey
probably will be able to negotiate an employment contract
with Scanlon in time for it to come before the board for
approval at its regular monthly meeting in August. If so, he
most likely will begin work here on or about Nov. 1.
Gilbert would not provide a
salary range for the position. Bruce Harter, who resigned as
superintendent to become superintendent of the district in
Richmond, Calif., earned $154,832 in his final year,
according to data
previously provided to Delaforum by the
Brandywine district. Scanlon currently makes $141,900.
Scanlon told Delaforum that
he has committed to remain in Brandywine "for at least five
years," but added that he is "looking forward to a very long
[association] with both the district and the community."
Harter was employed here for five years, to the day. Five
years is the minimum service required to qualify for a state
pension in Delaware.
Scanlon said he was attracted
to Brandywine by "the diversity of the district" and
because it is "poised to pull a lot of things together with
regard to curriculum ... so
everybody's going in the same
direction." He said he is "very focused on student learning"
and dedicated to "providing for the needs of all kids."
Scanlon was identified as the
sole "finalist candidate" for the Brandywine superintendency
at a special board meeting on July 24. His identity was a
closely kept secret before the meeting. It was first
revealed when Gilbert read a statement from Doorey, who did
not attend the meeting, after the board voted unanimously
and without prior discussion to undertake the review
During a preface statement
before the vote, Gilbert thanked "the community" for
allowing the board "to keep the [selection] process very
confidential." A 'press release' distributed after the vote
said that 70% of the 80 participants from the district staff
and community interviewed before the search for candidates
and an undisclosed number of other people who responded to a
'leadership questionnaire' posted on the district's website
"supported the confidential search in order to gain the
strongest applicant pool."
Acknowledging that that
differed from the comparatively open process by which Harter
was selected, Gilbert said the district was "in a different
spot five years ago." Harter succeeded superintendent Joseph
DeJohn who had resigned under fire during a scandal
involving purported misuse of district funds.
Gilbert emphasized, however,
that identifying Scanlon as the finalist was not the end of
the selection process, "but the beginning of the next
phase." The final hiring decision, he said, will be guided
by 'feedback' from participants in the review process.
That will begin with a visit
to the Quakertown district by a delegation led by board
members Olivia Johnson-Harris, Mark Huxsoll and Joseph
Brumskill which will include members of the Brandywine staff
and 'community members'.
Scanlon will come to Delaware
for full days of meetings on Aug. 7 and 16. There will be
open public meetings beginning at 7 p.m. on both days -- at
Harlan Intermediate School and Brandywine High School,
respectively. The public and media will not be permitted to
attend other sessions, including one with "business leaders,
elected officials, and leaders of local religious, community
and civic groups." Also on the schedule is a session with
any district student who wishes to attend, which board
member Debra Heffernan said Scanlon requested be included.
Gilbert said Hazzard, Young &
Attea Associates, a search firm, "presented us with four
very qualified candidates" from which to select the
'finalist'. He thanked his six colleagues for putting in
"untold hours [and] missing swim meets" to interview the
candidates and make the selection. School board members are
After the vote, each of the
other members at the meeting endorsed Scanlon as the proper
selection. Brumskill said he was swayed by Scanlon's
"sincere concern for student involvement." Johnson-Harris
said she "liked the fact he talked about collaboration."
"He is both a very warm and
approachable person and an effective leader committed to the
success of every student," Doorey said in the statement that
Gilbert said Scanlon led the
Quakertown district from having student test scores at or
below the state average to an overall ranking in the top
fifth of Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts.
Quakertown has an enrollment of 5,400 in 11 schools. The
district is in northern Bucks County about 15 miles south of
Allentown and Bethlehem.
Scanlon, 47, holds an
undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a
masters degree and doctorate in education from Temple
University. He has been superintendent in Quakertown since
1999 and before that was assistant superintendent of the
Neshaminy district in southern Bucks County. A copy of his
full resume was not available at the Brandywine meeting.
Scanlon is not a stranger to
the Brandywine district. He and his wife, Beth Trapani,
lived in North Hills -- from he commuted to Quakertown --
between 2003 and 2005.