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Anthony J. Sparano Jr.
Candlebrook Elementary School
Upper Merion Area School District
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

A broad-reaching, inclusive approach to staff appreciation, a deep involvement with the community, and the development of a revolutionary approach to reporting student progress are among the primary accomplishments of Anthony J. Sparano Jr. as principal of Candlebrook Elementary School. As a collaborative and supportive leader, Sparano believes in shared decision-making, risk-taking in instructional approaches, and modeling behaviors he expects of others. In addition to teachers, Sparano works with support staff such as maintenance, food services, and student services to keep everyone involved and reinforce the value of their contributions to the school community. Though teachers and students are seen as the nucleus of the school, he says, those who maintain safe playgrounds and fields as well as provide clean bathrooms and nutritional meals also support student achievement. As a member of the National Network of Partnership Schools, the kindergarten through fourth grade school has instituted numerous programs such as a nightly fifteen minute reading requirement which is monitored by parents and a “Dad’s Read, Kids Succeed” initiative to encourage male family members as positive role models for boys. Further partnerships fund field trips, assemblies, Family Nights, Authors in Residence, and more. Ensuring that Candlebrook remains responsive to national reforms in education, Sparano spearheaded the development of an elementary-level standards based report card, and plans are in the works to align it with Common Core Standards in math and English language arts. Sparano is praised by his superintendent for consistently demonstrating “powerful leadership, strength of character, and unwavering integrity.” Sparano holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.A. in Education from West Chester University as well as a Principal Certificate from Penn State University.