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New principals for Cook-Wissahickon, Lea, KCAPA, Kensington Business

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

With more than 40 schools opening in a week with new principals, the District has filled vacancies at Lea and Cook-Wissahickon elementaries and at Kensington CAPA and Kensington Business.

Jennifer Duffy is the new principal at Lea. According to a bio posted on the school’s site, she was born and went to college in South Africa and most recently worked in the District’s Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs. She is also a member of the Philadelphia Writing Project.

Melanie Lewin takes over Cook-Wissahickon after serving as a “consulting teacher” in the Peer Assistance and Review program, working with teachers who were rated unsatisfactory. She also taught math and was a literacy coordinator, according to her LinkedIn profile. She has a master’s degree in education from Bank Street College of Education.

Two vacancies remain, at Loesche Elementary in the Far Northeast and at Overbrook Education Center. District spokesman Fernando Gallard said that at both schools the interview process is nearing the end with "strong candidates," and the new principals are expected to be named before the start of the school year.

Two schools, Kensington CAPA and Kensington Business, will be headed by retired principals until permanent replacements are found. Carolyn Williams will head Kensington CAPA, and Dana Rapaport will head Kensington Business.

Gallard said that in these cases, the regional superintendent decided that more time was needed to find the right permanent candidate.

Forty-seven principals are new to their schools this year.


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