Wolff, Linn selected to lead Avon Grove School Board12/20/2023 09:37AM ● By Colleen Cochran
The members of the Avon Grove School Board showed they were pleased with present leadership when they voted the president and vice president back into those positions during the reorganization meeting held on Dec. 7.
Bonnie Wolff is once again president of the Avon Grove School Board. She has served in this role since 2022 and has been a member of the board since 2003. Rick Dumont, board member, acted as temporary president during the voting process.
Dorothy Linn, Ed.D., was reelected as board vice president, a position she has held for the past year. She also served as president in the past and has been a board member since 2019.
Board member, Mike Woodin, threw his name into the ring for vice president, stating that change might pave the way for new ideas. Several board members publicly stated that diverse viewpoints and ideas benefit the school district, but they went on to say that they were voting for Dr. Linn because of her deep knowledge and proven leadership. They felt her vast experience was going to be especially important during the upcoming transition on the school board.
The transition to which they were referring is the onboarding of two freshman board members, Ken Roark and Nick Taylor. They are filling seats of two members from Region II. Jeff Billig chose to not run for reelection. Katie Leonard lost her write-in bid for election. Katie was appointed to the board in September after Tracy Lisi resigned from the board because she no longer lived in the district.
It appears the taxpayers are also pleased with the existing board. Not only did they reinstitute Bonnie Wolff and Dorothy Linn as members, they reelected Herman Engel to office. Engel was chosen to fill a vacancy in 2010 and has been elected by the community of Region III since 2010.
Both the new Avon Grove School Board members and reelected members were sworn in at the December 7 meeting.
The Avon Grove schools have undergone many changes over the last few years. A new high school was constructed in Penn Township and opened to students in the 2022-2023 school year. The high school’s former building was renovated and became the home of Avon Grove Middle School starting in the 2023-2024 school year. Sixth graders were added to the middle school population at that time as well. Students at that grade level were previously enrolled in Avon Grove Intermediate School, which now consists of second through fifth grades. Penn London Elementary serves students in kindergarten and first grade.
Wolff stated that the move to middle school has benefited the sixth graders.
“They can be pushed a little harder when surrounded by students in the middle school demographic, and ultimately, they will be in a better place to hit high school running,” she said.
The former middle school is now being used by the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU). The CCIU is leasing the former middle school and will fund all the building renovations, including district administrative offices. The renovations are expected to be complete about mid-2025. The CCIU serves all the Chester County public schools with a wide variety of services, including behavioral and mental health, autistic support, special education, adult learning, technical support, educational resources, and much more.
“We are very fortunate to have the CCIU in our district. Its close proximity can only benefit our students,” said Engel.
Linn said students are thriving as a result of not only the upgrades to the facilities and the new academic, athletic, and activity programs that were made possible due to those upgrades, but also because the school board has been diligent about ensuring that emotional and academic supports are in place for all students.
“We instituted a lot of support systems during and after the pandemic, and the testing results prove that these efforts have been successful. Students are improving and achieving all the way through the high school level,” she said.
When asked the goals she foresees for the board during her upcoming two-year presidency, Wolff stated, “The main goal of the Avon Grove School District has been, and will continue to be, to support students’ academic improvement.”
She said a revolving three-year student support system focused on specific areas that benefit learning has enhanced students’ scholastic progress. This system employs a multi-tiered system of scaffolding measures that include: Year 1 - high-quality academics, Year 2 - supportive learning environment, and Year 3 - healthy systems conditions, meaning a continuous offering of beneficial facilities and technologies.
Wolff said, “During each yearly focus, we go on to constantly monitor the children to make sure they are where they are supposed to be academically.”
Engel mentioned that the Avon Grove School District must benefit many entities, first and foremost the students and their parents but also taxpayers and the community at large.
“I think we are achieving that goal,” he said. “We’ve been very mindful of bringing improvements to the district while balancing the costs. And we take great steps to ensure that community members receive accurate communications about school board initiatives and that their questions are answered and their concerns addressed.”
Avon Grove School Board meetings are open to the public, livestreamed, and posted for viewing at a later date. Please visit avongrove.org to learn how to follow the school district’s activities.