New superintendent for Upper Darby schools

Richard S. Dunlap Jr.'s background includes stints in the Marines and 11 years as West Chester East High principal.
Richard S. Dunlap Jr.'s background includes stints in the Marines and 11 years as West Chester East High principal. (MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 27, 2013

Richard S. Dunlap Jr., a longtime high school principal and brawny Marine veteran, has been named superintendent of the Upper Darby School District.

Dunlap, 53, grew up in Delaware County and has worked as a special-education teacher, assistant principal, and principal in area districts. He has been principal of West Chester East High School since 2002.

Before that he was principal of Garnet Valley Middle School for six years.

He replaces Lou DeVlieger, who retired at the end of the school year. Dunlap will take over the top post Sept. 6.

"There are so many good things going on in the district," he said. The biggest challenge, as it is for many school districts, is finances.

"Working with the funding that's there and trying to be able to maintain programs - I'm still really getting my hands wrapped around that," he said.

The district raised taxes nearly 3 percent this year and in previous years has warned that it might have to cut its nationally praised arts program.

Over the next month, Dunlap plans to talk to school stakeholders about their perceptions of the district and then draft goals with the school board.

He will share those goals with the community and within 90 days come up with a plan of action that will be the basis for the district's new strategic plan.

Dunlap said he also wants to improve communication with the public and professional development for staff.

After graduating from Sun Valley High School in Aston, Dunlap received a bachelor's degree in education from West Chester University, a master's in bilingual studies from Marywood University, and a doctorate in educational administration from Immaculata University.

As a Marine Corps officer, he served four years active duty and five years in the reserve.

In 2009, Dunlap's 19-year-old son, Tim, died from a prescription-drug overdose. Since then the school leader has talked to students at local schools about his son's troubles. He and his wife have two other grown sons.


Contact Kathy Boccella at kboccella@phillynews.com, 610-313-8232, or follow @kathyboccella on Twitter.

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