Principal for the University-Assisted PreK-8 Public School

Sheila Sydnor, CW '74, a veteran School District of Philadelphia teacher and administrator, was selected from a national pool of 60 candidates to be the new principal of the University-Assisted PreK-8 Public School at 42nd and Spruce Streets. A committee consisting of parents from the community along with Penn and School District representatives chose Ms. Sydnor for her demonstrated abilities as a school leader, her commitment to building learning communities, and her experience in creating conditions for high student achievement. "Sheila Sydnor brings a wealth of experience from the community, the teacher's desk and the administrator's chair," said Dr. Deidré Farmbry, the School District's chief academic officer. "Her ability to lead and build connections between the community, the University and the school will ensure the success of this cutting- edge educational venture."

Ms. Sydnor, known as a hands-on leader, brings over 25 years experience as an educator to her new position. Since 1992, she has been principal of the M. Hall Stanton Elementary School. She also served as a teacher and assistant principal in the school district."Sheila has clearly demonstrated that she understands the meaning of teamwork, which is central to making this partnership work," said Ted Kirsch, PFT president. Hallmarks of her tenure at Stanton were fostering high student achievement in one of the city's poorest neighborhoods, building strong connections among students, teachers, parents and community organizations and creation of a technology-rich learning environment. She secured funding for students to record and report weather statistics for the local NBC TV's Weather Watchers program and pioneered several technology initiatives, including creation of a world map that students and staff designed and painted in the playground."This historic partnership merits a principal with excellent instructional leadership skills," said GSE Dean Susan Fuhrman. "We are very pleased that we found Sheila Sydnor."

Ms. Sydnor will oversee the opening of the school for kindergarten and first grade children in September. She will work with Penn and the School District to hire staff, organize the curriculum, and meet parents. The school will focus on high learning standards for children and serve an important role as a professional development and community hub. "The children will be the real winners in this unique partnership with the Penn," Ms. Sydnor said. "Penn's total commitment to this venture promises diverse and exciting kinds of educational opportunities for our students, teachers, parents and the community."

An alumna of Penn and Temple, she grew up in the neighborhood, attending Hamilton Elementary, Sayre Middle School and West Philadelphia High. "As a product of the West Philadelphia schools, and having begun my teaching career in this community, it is particularly gratifying to be returning home," said Ms. Sydnor.


Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 1, July 17, 2001

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