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Carpenter Retires As UPSD High School Principal
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2024-01-17

            The Upper Perkiomen High School principal is leaving his position. Last week, the board voted to accept the retirement of Robert Carpenter after 10 years in the job.

            The Green Lane resident will succeed Michael Tannous as executive director of the Upper Perkiomen YMCA, located at 1399 Quakertown Road in Upper Hanover. His final day at the high school is Feb. 16, and his first day at the new position is scheduled for Feb. 19.

            Administrators are working on naming an interim high school principal, according to board President Melanie Cunningham. She said following the Jan. 11 regular meeting that the search to find Carpenter's successor is underway.  "We're gathering names," Cunningham said after the meeting.

            According to Superintendent Allyn Roche, the goal is to have the board vote on a new high school principal during one of the February meetings. He explained that the new administrator may not be allowed to start for approximately 60 days since state law requires any educator resigning from a public district to provide that length of notice.

            Carpenter described his decision to shift jobs as a "great opportunity to join a great organization and to continue to serve the community in the Upper Perkiomen Valley," according to an email message received Monday afternoon. The administrator identified his proudest accomplishments as seeing his four children graduate and the relationships he has established with parents, students, teachers, and staff members within the district and the community.

            Carpenter, a 1989 graduate of Bethlehem Catholic who graduated from Moravian College and Lehigh University, will end a 10-year run as the high school principal and a career of more than 20 years with the district. The board hired him in July 2003 an assistant principal at the middle school.

            He has worked at the high school since August 2007. In January 2014, he was promoted from assistant principal to his current position.

            In other news, the members voted to approve a six-month membership to the Delaware Valley Consortia for Equity and Excellence in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. The $6,000 payment will be utilized for staff professional development workshops and seminars, select student participation in a Student Leadership Institute and other support in the area of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, according to the language of the action item.

            After the meeting, Cunningham described the program as an important facet of the district's professional development. She said there were no incidents that led to the decision to participate.

            Trina Schaarschmidt, Sarah Bieber and Elizabeth Fluckey voted against the item. Prior to the vote, Schaarschmidt described the arrangement with Penn as unnecessary. She said it's no better than what the district currently utilizes for some of these issues. 

            "I don't understand putting $6,000 behind this," Schaarschmidt said before the vote.

            Mike Long – who ran on the same Republican UP for Education ticket with Schaarschmidt, Bieber and Fluckey – claimed that approving the measure would be pushing an agenda of "a certain level of indoctrination within the school."

            During public comments, he told the members that DEI discriminates on "bases of race and gender and other factors." Long also claimed, without evidence, that besides being immoral, the pushing of DEI "is illegal" and will expose the district to lawsuits.

            Cunningham announced that Keith McCarrick has been named the chair of the Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center's Joint Operating Committee. She added that Emily McCormick is its new secretary.

            The members voted to approve an action item appointing Member Leah Cianfran as its representative to the MCIU board. Cianfrani was elected to the board late last year.

            In other personnel business, the board accepted the retirements of three other employees at the end of the current school year. They include Kyle Mirth, a fifth-grade teacher and former varsity football coach; art teacher Maria Conway and Lorie Seimes, a paraprofessional.

            The members voted to approve the resignations of full-time custodian Bartholomew Guerrera, Patricia Brennan-Bortz, a part-time custodian, effective Jan. 22, and Nicole Fazio, a speech and language therapist, effective March 4.

            The board also voted to appoint three long-term substitute high school teachers for the duration of the current school year. They include Elizabeth Maryott, a math teacher; along with Diane Grandizio, an existing staff member, as a business teacher, beginning January 24; and Betty White, a part-time, business teacher, also beginning Jan. 24.

            It also voted to hire two cafeteria/playground aides at Hereford Elementary School: Angela Rogers and Maria Lanza. The board also approved a leave of absence for John Soffa, through Feb. 13; Patricia Keller, from Jan. 22 through March 22; Judy Mendez, through the end of the current school year; Jessie Hedrick, beginning January 10 for up to two weeks, as needed; Brianna Martinez, from April 6 through Sept. 8; Rachael Dishman, May 23 through Oct. 25; Debbie Altomare, from Feb. 29 for up to 12 weeks, as needed through May 28 and Jamye Brien. 

            According to Solicitor Kyle Somers, the board held an executive session immediately before the public meeting. He said the members discussed a matter of potential litigation related to an injury claim by a community member and a personnel matter related to a vacant administrative position.


 

 

 

 

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