News from the Nest

Cardinal Pride in the Upper Dublin School District

April 2, 2019

Superintendent's Message

UDSD Community,

Did you know that April is Autism Acceptance Month? Formerly known as Autism Awareness Month, we have moved beyond awareness and on to acceptance, accepting everyone despite challenges or struggles they may face. Chances are that you know a person who has autism. Over the last few years, we have all learned a great deal about autism and how those with autism see the world!

During Autism Acceptance Month, we focus on sharing positive, respectful, and accurate information about autism and people with autism.

Autism Acceptance Month promotes acceptance and celebration of people with autism as family members, friends, classmates, co-workers, and community members making valuable contributions to our world. Autism is a natural variation of the human experience, and we can all create a world which values, includes, and celebrates all kinds of minds.

In a nutshell, Autism Acceptance Month is about treating autistic people with respect, listening to what we have to say about ourselves, and making all people feel welcome in the world. Click here to read more about Autism Acceptance Month!

My best now and always,

Steve Yanni

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New Position Titles and New Beginnings for Upper Dublin

Educating our students is the most important job we have in our District. To ensure that we provide the absolute best education for our students, it is essential that we hire the best people to carry out our District's mission.

With several administrative retirements this year, we took the opportunity to analyze positions and, in some cases, retool roles to more efficiently meet the needs of our students, staff, and community. While there are no new administrative positions in the budget for SY 2019-2020, several positions have different titles and responsibilities moving forward. A community member stopped me in George's Market the other day and asked if these "shiny new titles" were costing more money. Happily, I was able to give a resounding "NO!" The changes in titles are simply to accurately reflect the focus of each position. In fact, the District will realize a net savings over this year for these salaries for SY 2019-2020.

Below is some important information for our community to know:

  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO) - Ms. Brenda Bray has been known as our Chief Financial Officer for some time. Many folks refer to Ms. Bray (and others in her position) as the Business Administrator. To be honest, the title Business Administrator does not accurately reflect all that one does in the role, especially given the size of our budget.
  • Chief Academic Officer (CAO) - When Ms. Eva Morrison, Director of Curriculum, retired earlier this year, we made the decision to rebrand the position and to make it a Chief Academic Officer position. The intent behind this was to draw the highest quality candidates, those who have served in a variety of positions and who want to focus solely on teaching and learning. We will announce the finalist candidate for the CAO position later this week.
  • Chief Organizational Development Officer (CODO) - Dr. Kim Minor currently serves as the Director of Elementary Education, Gifted, and Federal Programs. In her new role, Dr. Minor will work strategically with multiple departments to strengthen our educational program. Dr. Minor will also work with universities to establish partnerships that are mutually beneficial to our students as well as their students. We will no longer have a Director of Elementary Education, Gifted, and Federal Programs.
  • Supervisor of Elementary Education - Ms. Kathy Smyth serves as our Elementary Assistant Principal and Reading Coordinator. Reading and literacy absolutely impacts everything else we do at the elementary level. As we thought about filling Kathy's position, we decided to call the position "Supervisor of Elementary Education." While the new administrator will still focus on reading and literacy, s/he will also focus on other areas of the elementary curriculum, including enrichment and gifted education services. We are in the early stages of interviewing for this position.
  • Supervisor of Secondary Education - Ms. Kim Schuler currently serves as an Assistant Principal and Safety Coordinator. In her new role she will assist with all areas of the secondary curriculum, focus on enrichment and gifted services at the secondary levels, as well as maintain safety duties.

On March 25, 2019, the Board of School Directors took action to hire our new CFO to replace Ms. Bray. Mr. Andrew Lechman will join us as our new CFO in July. Additionally, with Mr. Sigafoos' retirement in June, the Board of School Directors took action to approve Ms. Ashley Kitten as our new Director of Human Resources. Ms. Kitten will join us on June 3, 2019. You can click here to read more about each of these candidates in my most recent Superintendent's Report.

As always, it is a pleasure to serve our students, staff, and community. We look forward to welcoming new additions to our leadership team, and we are confident that they will all serve our community proudly!

Sandy Run Middle School Town Hall Meeting

The Board of School Directors held their first Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, March 19th at Sandy Run Middle School. You can click here to view the presentation given during the Town Hall Meeting. The Town Hall Meeting was an opportunity to learn more about the SRMS building project and answer questions related to construction, building modification, etc. The Board and members of the District's Leadership Team were in attendance to share information, answer questions, and dialogue with the community. You can click here for notes from the meeting compiled in a Q&A format. Further, you can watch the SRMS Town Hall Meeting, as it is housed on our YouTube Channel.


  • Safety Protocols - In last month's newsletter we shared information on the steps we must engage in when dealing with significant issues such as threats. We are including the information again this month as a reminder. Click here to read the information about UDSD safety protocols.

  • Steps of Communication - To enhance communication in the Upper Dublin School District, especially when trying to answer questions or resolve problems, it is important to follow our “Steps of Communication.” Directing questions or concerns to the appropriate person(s) encourages greater collaboration and streamlines the process of answering questions, alleviating concerns, and ensuring that we are all on the same page. Click here for our Steps of Communication document.

Upcoming Events

PSSA Information

  • The ELA PSSAs (grades 3-8) will be administered on April 9th, 10th, and 11th.
  • The math PSSAs (grades 3-8) will be administered on April 23rd and 24th.
  • The science PSSAs (grade 4) will be administered on April 29th and 30th.
  • The science PSSAs (grade 8) will be administered on April 30th and May 1st.

Spring Break - Schools will be closed during the week of April 15th. Enjoy!

Mark Your Calendars
- Please bookmark our District calendar to stay up to date on the many exciting events taking place in Upper Dublin!