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Former Superintendent Named Principal of Widener Partnership Charter School

The Widener Partnership Charter School, Pennsylvania’s first university-based charter school, on Tuesday announced Darlene G. Davis as the new principal and chief executive officer. Davis will lead the groundbreaking school based at Widener University as it completes its middle school expansion through eighth grade this fall.
Darlene Davis
Davis replaces Rose McNeil-Sampson who has served as principal since July 2011 and is retiring at the end of the school year. Davis will assume her new role on July 1.

"We were impressed with Dr. Davis' strong record of leadership at all levels of K-12 education and her experience establishing community partnerships and strengthening parent involvement in programs," said Dr. Paula Silver, chairperson of the Widener Partnership Charter School board of trustees and dean of the Widener School of Human Service Professions. "We look forward to Dr. Davis applying those skills at the Widener Partnership Charter School."

A resident of Ambler, Pa., Davis comes to the charter school from the School District of Cheltenham Township, where she has served as superintendent of schools since September 2010 and as assistant superintendent for three years prior to that. She has also served as director of pupil services for the Norristown Area School District, principal at Conshohocken Elementary School, and assistant principal at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School and Colonial Middle School.

"I am very excited to have the opportunity to join the Widener Partnership Charter School team and look forward to serving the children and families in our community," Davis said.

Davis earned a doctorate in education from Widener University and principal certification from Penn State University. She also holds a master's degree in education from Antioch University and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Ursinus College.

The charter school takes a holistic approach to education that emphasizes a low student to teacher ratio, the social and emotional development of each student, a close partnership with parents and caregivers, and the inclusion of music, art, drama, physical and health education and foreign language instruction as integral parts of the curriculum. In April 2012, the school received a $1 million grant from the PECO-Exelon Foundation to fund science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and programs to encourage parental involvement at the school.

Because it is affiliated with Widener University, the school receives a variety of supports from the university including education faculty and students who support and enhance the instruction of classroom teachers, graduate students from social work and clinical psychology who provide a range of services to the children and their families, and the use of university facilities such as the Science Teaching Center and the Art Gallery.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate's, master's, and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,500 students. Visit the university website,




Photo courtesy of Montgomery Media