Dr. Jim Scanlon has been superintendent of the West Chester Area School District since 2009. Under his leadership, the district has seen increases in test scores, as well as more students applying to and being accepted to colleges.
Scanlon has pushed for stronger communication and community involvement and credits the district’s success to its dedicated and caring staff. Despite a declining birth rate, as well as competition from charter and private schools in the area, the school district has seen, under Scanlon’s leadership, increases in enrollment of the market share of school-age children.
In 2010, Scanlon formed a Community Budget Task Force comprised of staff, parents, community members, and business leaders. The group helped to uncover $8 million in savings and $1million in revenue, and its work has continued to help guide the district’s finances.
West Chester is one of the highest performing school districts in the state, yet its tax rates are the lowest in Chester County. With schools being consistently ranked in the top 10% in the state and country, West Chester Area School District is an educational best buy.
Scanlon has worked to find ways that the district can have a positive impact on its families. In 2010, the West Chester Area Education Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit, was launched and now raises more than $100,000 in donations from businesses to help fund innovative projects that connect classroom curriculum to real-world experiences.
The district’s Preschool Parents Group was also formed in 2010 to help parents better prepare their pre-school children for kindergarten. In 2017, there were more than 1,600 parents involved with this group that provides educational programming in an innovative approach to expanding the reach of the District.
The district has added programs such as full-day kindergarten with a play-based curriculum, blended learning classes at the high school, a 1:1 technology program for middle school and high school students, and a partnership with West Chester University to offer college credit for students as part of a dual enrollment program.
Dr. Scanlon has focused efforts on developing the district’s equity teams to help close the achievement gap between white students and students of color. Training has been a priority in this area to help each staff member better understand cultural differences. The school district has become a leader in the region with this work.
Scanlon believes that the best school systems are built on collaboration, with a focus on not only the academic but the social and emotional development of children. He strives to create time within the school day for teachers to work together on effective instructional practices. He also strives to make decisions based on good data and information, along with input from staff, all with the focus on what is best for students.
Dr. Scanlon earned a Masters Degree and Educational Doctorate with Distinction from Temple University in Philadelphia. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He came to West Chester from the Brandywine School District in Wilmington, Delaware, where he was the Superintendent for three years. Prior to that, Dr. Scanlon served as Superintendent of the Quakertown Community School District, in Quakertown, PA, for seven years.
He has also served as an elementary principal, district curriculum director, and assistant superintendent for secondary schools. He taught for eight years in elementary and middle school in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
He lives with his wife, Beth, and their two school-aged sons in Thornbury Township.
To contact Dr. Jim Scanlon, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 484-266-1018.