More MS news articles for Nov 2001

Administators tap USC's Pope as state's top superintendent

Sunday, November 25, 2001

His educational philosophy boils down to a simple concept.

"We're here for the kids," said Dr. William Pope, Upper St. Clair School District superintendent. "That's what it's all about. I keep harping on that day after day after day."

Throughout his nearly three decades with the district, the past 12 as superintendent, Pope has succeeded in spreading that philosophy among faculty, staff and administrators, with the result that Upper St. Clair is generally recognized as one of the area's pre-eminent school districts.

Now, he is getting some widespread recognition for his efforts.

This week, the state Association of School Administrators announced Pope has been named Pennsylvania superintendent of the year for 2002. He now is eligible for consideration as the American Association of School Administrators' national superintendent of the year, to be announced in San Diego in February.

In his nominating form for the state award, Pope could point to accomplishments such as seeing each of his district's six schools presented the National Blue Ribbon Award by the U.S. Department of Education.

Eisenhower Elementary School is the latest to earn the distinction, with the receipt of the award celebrated last week. And Fort Couch Middle School is eligible for receiving another ribbon next year.

"It made one of the best 17 or 18," Pope said. "We're waiting for federal recognition."

A Brentwood native and Washington & Jefferson College graduate, Pope started in Upper St. Clair as an administrator in 1972. He was appointed superintendent in 1989 and is under contract through 2003.

Four years into his tenure, Pope received some life-changing news, as he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

"Probably the biggest impact it's had is on my family," he said. "My wife does many of the things I normally would do."

Kim Pope takes care of many of the details of their home life, which has included raising two children, to give her husband a chance to conserve his energy so he can concentrate fully on his job.

"I might work longer days to do everything I used to be able to do," he said. "Being with the kids is a great part of it. So many people with MS are much worse off than I am."

A board member for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Pope also is on the board of trustees for the Homeless Children and Family Emergency Fund. He serves on several regional educational committees and is involved with the alumni associations of Washington & Jefferson and the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned his master's, doctorate, principal's certification and superintendent's letter of eligibility.

Throughout his career, he's stuck to the same set of guidelines.

"It's my business and my intent to make my educators here the best they can possibly be, and to make the children want to come to school," he said. And if he were no longer around, he'd be happy if his epitaph bore a simple inscription:

"He did what was right for the kids."

Copyright ©2001 Observer Publishing