One of Upper Perkiomen’s top administrators will be leaving for Pottsgrove School District in a few short weeks.
Dr. William R. Shirk, Upper Perkiomen High School principal, officially accepted a position as assistant superintendent of administration with Pottsgrove Tuesday night. That district announced his hiring last Friday, pending a school board vote, through a press release.
Shirk, who has served as head of Upper Perkiomen High School since 2007, is slated to begin a five-year term at Pottsgrove Jan. 13, 2014 or earlier if he is released by Upper Perk. His pro-rated annual salary will be $152,500, according to the release.
“I am very excited that Dr. Shirk will be joining our administrative team,” said Pottsgrove Superintendent Shellie Feola via the statement. “His experience and proven track record as a principal has prepared him to take this next big step. We believe he will provide outstanding leadership and central office support for the work going on in our schools as we continue to implement our new comprehensive plan for continuous improvement.”
Shirk said he is excited to be taking on the role with Pottsgrove.
“For me this was the next natural career move,” he said, citing the receipt of his superintendent’s certificate last January. “And Pottsgrove afforded me that opportunity. But really Upper Perk allowed me to take that step, to be well-versed in all aspects of education.”
Upper Perkiomen High School has flourished during Shirk’s tenure. SAT scores are at their highest in years and the school received an outstanding performance score of 93.7 from the state this year. The school also increased its AP course offerings from six to nine.
Upper Perk was additionally named to Philadelphia Magazine’s top 100 high schools in 2012 and as one of Newsweek’s top 2,000 public high schools in the country in May.
Shirk said of his many moments at Upper Perk, he felt good about the opening of UPTV, the school’s TV studio, advancements in the technology, fine and practical art programs, as well as co-curricular improvements like Tribe Stadium.
“I really feel it’s not about me, but what the staff has done,” he noted. “They’ve been extraordinary the past seven years. My hat’s off to them, their work ethic. Everybody’s been on board. It’s really the staff and the kids buying into what’s important academically.”
Shirk said he’d also be remiss if he didn’t thank former Superintendent Dr. Timothy Kirby for giving him a chance to serve at Upper Perk and current Superintendent Dr. Beth Yonson to allow him to continue his vision for the school.
“Dr. Shirk has been a huge asset to the Upper Perkiomen School District,” said Upper Perkiomen High School Assistant Principal Robert Carpenter. “Over the last six years, he has been a great educational leader at the high school. He guided and worked collaboratively with the high school staff to accomplish many initiatives. Dr. Shirk’s leadership, perseverance and integrity aided the high school’s growth, which has been a source of pride for the school district.
“Personally, Dr. Shirk has been a great mentor. He modeled effective leadership and allowed me to grow as an administrator by giving me roles and responsibilities to enhance my skill set. I am sad to see Dr. Shirk leave, but I wish him the best in his new position.”
Yonson agreed, calling Shirk an “exceptional educator and administrator who demonstrates integrity and professionalism in all that he does.”
“His leadership has provided a solid foundation for the success that the high school has earned,” she said.
“I’ve been proud to serve at Upper Perk and I hope I made a difference,” Shirk said. “I’ve always been a challenge person and I am really looking forward to this next challenge.”
Yonson said the district will advertise the open principal position and expects to hold interviews and identify a new candidate within the next few weeks.