1. Please tell us a little about yourself (family, children, where you grew up, educational background, career path, etc).
I am a life-long resident of the Upper Darby Community and graduated from Upper Darby schools. My degrees are a B.S. in Education from West Chester University where I have been given the Distinguished Alumni Award, and a Master’s Degree in Reading from West Chester University. I also have a certification in Educational Administration from Villanova University. I have also done post-graduate work at Boston College and the University of Pennsylvania.
I have been a teacher in all grades from K to 12 as well as a professor of graduate studies at Penn State University. I have been a reading consultant in Upper Darby and supervisor for the Delaware County Intermediate Unit in the areas of reading, math, and special education in both public and non-public schools. I have done in-services for the all levels of teachers and for the Delaware County Library Association. I have been President of the Delaware County Reading Council where I helped to initiate the Young Authors Program for the County. Eventually, I became President of the Pennsylvania State Reading Association. I was the local chair of the first International Reading Association held in Philadelphia. I have authored numerous books in reading, social studies, handwriting, spelling, literature, and language arts. My career has been blessed with numerous awards from the International Reading Association and the Recognition Award for Supervision from the Delaware Valley Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Two highlights were being inducted into the Upper Darby Wall of Fame and being honored by Upper Darby Township on November 7, 2002 as “Rose P. Conley Day.”
I have been a School Board Director since 1996 where I have been President, Vice- President, and liaison for numerous committees.
I was married to Arthur F. Conley, Esq., now deceased, and have a daughter, Jessica, who is an attorney.
2. Why are you running for School Board?
I believe that a vital school district will have rewarding and lasting effects for the community and its residents. I would hope my expertise in education, experience as a School Board Director, and dedication to serving students and community are strong attributes in assuming the important role of School Board Director. I will volunteer my time and energies in helping to preserve the excellence in Upper Darby’s educational programs.
3. What do you see as the strengths of the Upper Darby community, and separately, the School District?
The biggest strength of the community is the diversity of the population. With the wide range of ethnicity, parents demand help for their children in English, special education, discipline, academics, the arts, etc. Therefore, schools need to produce these varied programs.
Lifelong residents add to the tradition of the community. They can attest to a long and successful life of the school district through their own schooling. They can help us remember how important it is to maintain the wonderful programs they had, to keep their property values high, and to control the taxes.
Fortunately, we have the strength, dedication, and experiences of well-rounded educators and competent staff members to continue the tradition of an outstanding education in the Upper Darby School District.
4. What do you see as areas of concern or needed growth of the Upper Darby community, and separately, the School District?
We face challenging times with rising costs of education, increasing crowded schools because of the student enrollment, and the demands placed on special programs.
Communication must be open between residents and school staff so that an understanding takes place of everyone’s needs. We need to continue working together with our legislators to find and establish laws that give the district more revenue for the diverse needs of our students, especially the special education students.
By partnering closely with the community members as we have done during this difficult budget season, the financial issues can be resolved together. Creative ideas for increasing our revenues need to be pursued as well.
5. Please talk briefly about what you see as three important priorities for education reform at a policy level and your position on these issues.
The three important areas that I see needing reform in education are (1) establishing a funding formula in the State, (2) properly funding special education in the State, and (3) redesigning charter school funding so that the funding is not taken away from our traditional public schools.
The Costing Out Study showed that Upper Darby has been shortchanged millions of dollars since 1992. Putting that formula back into practice or establishing another similar formula would generate more Basic Education Funding for Upper Darby Schools.
Our Special Education costs have risen dramatically in recent years while funding from the State has been flat. We need a formula based on the true number of students and the types of services that they are receiving in order to be properly funded for this mandate.
Charter schools are draining funds out of school districts for the traditional public schools which have been the backbone of American Education for generations. This has to stop!
6. Please talk about three critical issues you would like to see the School District address over the next couple of years.
The most prominent and immediate decision to handle in our school district is the selection of a new superintendent – one who will competently lead the staff in handling all of the difficult decisions in running an excellent school system.
We have to continue to develop the whole child in art, music, and technology as well as stressing the academics. As students progress in the grades, it’s important to partner with colleges and universities so that students will be better prepared to go on in higher education. It is necessary to provide a healthy, safe, and secure environment for our students so safety in schools and eliminating over crowdedness need to be addressed regularly.
Hopefully, as a cooperative decision-making team of community members, we can find innovative ways to generate more funds for the operation of the school district.
7. Is there anything else you would like the voting community to know about you?
Please have faith in my integrity and dedication to the students. I will use my experiences in working with policy, instruction, curriculum, personnel, facilities, transportation, finance, school safety, etc. to promote relationships that lead to a continued growth of the Upper Darby School District and the tradition of a fine community with educated students who become contributing citizens here.