CAPA high school names principal after a trying year

Posted: June 06, 2014

JOANNE BEAVER grew up in Northeast Philly, dreaming of attending the High School for Creative and Performing Arts in South Philly, where she could perform, perhaps, the lead in "The Sound of Music."

Alas, it didn't happen - her parents didn't want her to commute through Center City every day - but Beaver now knows her dreams can eventually come true.

The musical theater enthusiast was named principal of CAPA after the Memorial Day weekend, she confirmed to the Daily News yesterday.

"This is like my dream job. I've died and gone to heaven," said Beaver, 49, sounding almost giddy yesterday about her position. It's like "going home a little bit."

For the record, Beaver graduated from Northeast High School, but not before she landed the role of Mrs. Paroo in "The Music Man" her senior year.

The 25-year district employee will leave her job as principal of Thomas K. Finletter Academics Plus Elementary in Olney, where she is finishing her sixth year. She begins her $116,000-a-year job on July 21.

"This is very bittersweet. I am leaving a place that I absolutely love and adore," Beaver said. "I loved my time here but this [move] just feels right."

Beaver, who taught for two years at Clara Barton Elementary before moving to Finletter, now must shift gears and run a high school, which has its own processes and protocols.

She has already visited CAPA, on Broad Street near Christian, and started to establish relationships with students, parents and staff. "I already started to meet a group of teachers and the Home and School president," Beaver said. "I'll be asking a group of students including current seniors 'what do you need?' "

"Consistency and stability come with time," she added. "It's about taking action and doing things every day and making the investment."

Beaver's appointment comes on the heels of a scandal that rocked CAPA last fall after its previous principal, John J. Dunphy Jr., allegedly created a phony world-history course and issued fake grades to 18 students.

Dunphy was removed last October during his first year in the job, and replaced by interim principal Wendy Shapiro. He resigned from the district in January.

CAPA Home and School president Terrilyn McCormick said the community is "excited" to welcome Beaver.

Beaver "brings significant administrative experience that the school needs," McCormick said.

More importantly, Beaver will "unify the faculty at the school, that is key, and raise standards and raise achievements," she said.

The staff has been divided since the ousted principal left, McCormick said. In addition, the school had to endure budget cuts, along with the rest of the district, she said. "She needs to 'Kumbaya' the place."


On Twitter: @ReginaMedina

Online: ph.ly/DNEducation

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