Unionville’s Batchelor gets Radnor top job
RADNOR >> With much applause and well wishes, all eight members of the Radnor Township School Board present Tuesday, voted to appoint Kenneth Batchelor as the district’s new superintendent.
Batchelor, 45, of Thornton, is the assistant to the superintendent for the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District. He will begin in Radnor on Jan. 30, 2017.
In brief remarks to the board, Batchelor termed himself “very humbled and honored” to
be offered the position.
He quoted writer Tracy Kidder, saying, “Good teachers put snags in the river of children passing by, and over the years, they redirect hundreds of lives. Many people find it easy to imagine unseen webs of malevolent conspiracy in the world, and they are not always wrong. But there is also an innocence that conspires to hold humanity together, and it is made of people who can never fully know the good that they
Batchelor also promised to partner with the school board, staff and community “to provide the students of Radnor with a tremendous educational experience.”
Batchelor agreed to a five-year contract with an initial salary of $220,000. The board also approved 15 days of “consulting services” at $842 per day and not to exceed $12,643.
Batchelor grew up in West Chester County in New York and was a student at Villanova University, where he met his wife, Kathy, a lawyer. The couple has six children ranging from 12th grade to kindergarten.
He started his career in education as a student teacher at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, then taught U.S. history, economics and legal and political systems at East Forsyth High School in Winston Salem, N.C., before coming back to Pennsylvania to teach cultural studies and honors American studies at Unionville High School, according to information provided by the district.
Batchelor taught at UHS for six years and also coordinated and supervised the high school gifted program, coached lacrosse and basketball, and served as a club
adviser to student activities. He was promoted to assistant principal in 2002, a position he held until 2005. He left Unionville to serve for two years as the principal of Penncrest High School in the Rose Tree Media School District before returning in 2007 to Unionville-Chadds Ford in his current position.
Jim Fulginitti, a colleague and a friend, who is a retired administrator from Unionville-Chadds Ford, told the board, “I know you have not voted yet but you have hit one right out of the park.” Later, Fulg-initti called Batchelor “an ace” and “just outstanding.”
Before he started teaching,
Batchelor was a legislative assistant for Congressman Hamilton Fish Jr.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from Villanova, he received his master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently a doctoral candidate in educational leadership at Widener University.
RTSB President Susan Michaelson said the board chose Batchelor after reviewing some 40 candidates and conducting interviews with “a series of outstanding candidates.” His “deep knowledge base, interpersonal skills and professional accomplishments as an educational leader make him a superb fit for Radnor,” she said.
Amy Goldman, another board member, said that “from the get-go one of things that really struck me about Mr. Batchelor came from his cover letter.” In it he said that a superintendent’s role is to empower and inspire excellence, Goldman said. While many people write good cover letters, when she interviewed him “that really came through as truly genuine,” which is what the district’s “stakeholders wanted.”
During public comment, resident Cindy Spurdle questioned the need for the 15-day consulting contract prior to Batchelor’s start in the district. Judy Sherry, another resident, asked the district to reveal the value of the benefits the district was offering Batchelor above his salary.
David Wood, the president of the Radnor Township Education Association, welcomed Batchelor and said that he was pleased that the board signed him to a five-year contract. The previous superintendent, Michael Kelly, left after only three years.