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Academy Leaders, Christian Service Coordinators appointed

Fr. Reilly as Head of School next year will not be the only leadership change made.

No longer will there be one Christian Service Director or Department Leader. Next year, Christian Service and Academics will have leaders for each grade.

Earlier this year, Fr. Reilly announced the promotion of Mr. Ron Algeo and Mr. Patrick Sillup to the positions of Assistant Heads of School. As one of their first official tasks, Algeo and Sillup have appointed a new team of coordinators of the Christian Service program, and new Academic Leaders for grades six through twelve.

The new team of Christian Service Coordinators consists of Ms. Christy Lee, Mrs. Pamela Whitney, Mr. Stephen Borish, Mrs. Kim Wright, and Mr. Emanuel DelPizzo. Although Mr. Larry Legner will be leaving the Director of Christian Service role with the upcoming school year, Mrs. Laura Miele will continue as the Christian Service Assistant.

According to Algeo, there were two main reasons for this new approach to the Christian Service Program.

“Number one, our Christian Service program has become just massive. Mr. Legner, along with the help of Mrs. Miele, deserves so much credit for building this,” Algeo said.

“With all good schools, the student is at the center. Your goal is to make a learning experience the best that it can be. What we’ve done is surround the student in this new model with a series of teams.”

-Mr. Patrick Sillup

The program was initially focused on service in more local areas, but it has grown to where Malvern students are traveling around the world to increasingly more destinations.

“The Christian Service program has grown immensely. Because of that growth, we need more people to help, we need more people to support it. That’s the number one issue,” he said.

The changes to the leadership of the Christian Service program also are consistent with the different approach Malvern is taking to its curriculum and culture. Algeo explained that “as a school, we are developing, and we are starting to look at things differently. We are looking at providing more team-based approaches to leading and designing our programs.”

Algeo expects this new approach to the Christian Service program to enhance each student’s experience here at Malvern and be an improvement over the previous approach.

“You have a lot of parts of this that play a role in the lives of our students. You have some events like the four weekends that are more grade level dependent,” he said. “So the ninth grade experience is different than the junior experience for example on those four weekends.”

This new approach is intended to allow a more customized and appropriate experience for each grade level. Algeo’s goal is to “make sure those experiences are great and to make sure they fit into what we are doing as a school. To really have them authentically built.”

Additionally, Algeo expects that this new approach will better help prepare students for their service trips and to help students reflect on the trips after they have returned.

“We want to be able to do more of that. So to have people overseeing this program at the grade level in coordination with the Academy teams, we thought this would be helpful,” he said.

The new Christian Service Coordinators will also take primary responsibility for the service events that are conducted throughout the school year. “We have things like the food drive, the Christmas party, the CARES Walk, and other events that aren’t necessarily driven by a grade,” Algeo continued. “We thought to be able to do those events well, we needed a team to be able to look at them and coordinate this across the grades.”

Algeo said he is excited about the team that has been assembled to now oversee the Christian Service program.

“Each of them brings a different skill set. Each of them brings a different perspective. Each of them brings his or her own unique passion for it. As a team, I think it is so exciting what we can do and how we can continue to develop this program,” he said.

At the same time, Sillup announced the appointment of new grade level deans for the high school, to be known as the Academy Leaders for each grade. The new Academy leaders are: Mrs. Susan Giordani and Ms. Jackie White for ninth grade, Mr. Matt Boccuti and Ms. Lauren Lesch for tenth grade, Mr. Jay Rogai and Mr. Kevin Quinn for eleventh grade, and Mr. Rick Poce and Mrs. Harriet Lappas for twelfth grade.

“These eight individuals are the Academy Leaders for the Upper School, and when combined with the Academy Leaders in the Middle School form the academic leadership team across Malvern’s campus. That is pretty exciting,” Sillup said.

The Upper School Academy leaders will be responsible for the academic experience of each grade in the Upper School, and will begin the fulfill the functions previously handled by the current department leaders.

“The functionality of the role will grow as the role grows. First and foremost, the Academy Leader is a player-coach,” Sillup said. “They teach on the team, they help coach the team, and they advocate for the team.”

The current department leaders will finish out this year, ensuring course registration and placements are done properly. However, there will be a transition of these duties over the summer to the Academy Leaders.

The primary purpose of the new Academy Leader structure in the Upper School is to enhance each Malvern student’s academic experience, according to Sillup.

“We seek to serve the students in a way that is mission-based, in a way that is impactful. We love when you guys go out and have an impact on your families, on your community, on yourselves in very positive ways. That’s why we are here. There literally is no other reason for us to exist,” Sillup said.

Sillup thinks that the new approach will allow the faculty to support students better than before.

“With all good schools, the student is at the center. Your goal is to make a learning experience the best that it can be. What we’ve done is surround the student in this new model with a series of teams,” he said. “These teams work directly with the students. This will allow us to create a better experience for the students. This new approach is looking at us seven years across rather than three or four.”

In addition to the Academy Leaders, a subgroup will shortly be appointed that will handle addressing curriculum needs like ordering books and similar tasks. This group will be known as the Curriculum Coordinators. “The Curriculum Coordinators will be charged with making the sixth through twelfth grade curriculum connect the dots along the way. These folks will be working with the teachers to order books and determine what curriculum needs should be addressed,” Sillup said.

Sillup explained that the Curriculum Coordinator role was posted this past Monday and interest from faculty members is being received now. The process is expected to be completed and appointments made after the Memorial Day weekend.

Algeo and Sillup are planning a communication out to the entire community this summer that explains in greater detail these changes and how they will be implemented.

NOTE: The print version of this story indicated that the Christian Service Coordinator team would replace the team of Mr. Larry Legner and Mrs. Laura Miele. The online version has been corrected to reflect Miele’s ongoing role as the Christian Service Assistant.

About Mike Harrington

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