Since its inception in 1943, the Center for School Study Councils (CSSC) has worked to improve the quality of education in school districts across Pennsylvania and New Jersey. As the longest continuous study council organization in the country, CSSC serves as a catalyst for public school superintendents to be proactive leaders and facilitates their professional learning and application of that learning.

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About The Center for School Study Councils

Four people present on a speaker panelTo realize our missionmembers identify key issues which affect public education across districts and participate in a unified series of monthly professional development workshops to address those issues. Those workshops provide a setting for intellectual stimulation, skill development, and professional problem solving all focused on the superintendents' leadership roles. Members also engage in a variety of activities to learn more about those issues and enhance leadership in their schools, districts, and communities. Affiliation with Penn GSE includes a variety of benefits, connecting participating superintendents and their districts to faculty and other resources at the University of Pennsylvania.

A speaker presenting in front of a screen

The Center also works with affiliated districts and other organizations to design and implement initiatives to address educational and community challenges.

The Center for School Study Councils is part of CATALYST @ Penn GSE, a center connecting people and ideas across diverse constituencies to develop innovative ways to address persistent and emerging problems in education.

Our Mission

Superintendents Learning, Speaking Out, and Acting on Important Issues

Participants in the Center for School Study Councils identify key issues affecting public education and engage in the following leadership activities:


Council members participate in workshops and seminars featuring nationally recognized experts. These workshops and seminars enable members to develop and share their knowledge and expertise.

Speaking Out

As educational leaders, superintendents create the context for public conversation about education. The Center supports members in articulating issues and solutions in their districts and across the region. 

Acting Together

The Center for School Study Councils provides a platform through which members develop a support network for collaborative action. This platform includes sharing ideas and successful practices as well as developing new ways to share resources and expertise.

The Center accomplishes this mission through four series of monthly professional development workshops for school superintendents as well as through special projects developed in response to requests from affiliated school districts and Intermediate Units.

A speaker presenting to a group of educators

Benefits of Membership

The Center for School Study Councils provides the following benefits of membership.  These benefits are in addition to monthly workshops that are intellectually stimulating, build the superintendent’s professional tool kit and provide rich and focused problem-solving and networking.  These workshops are eligible for Act 45 credits through the Pennsylvania Department of Education with a yearly membership and a prescribed minimum attendance for the year:  


  • The ability for assistant superintendents (or other administrators seeking Act 45 credit) to affiliate with the Study Councils at half-price and receive Act 45 credit for required participation.
  • The ability to bring up to two guests from your district to the meetings, thus extending the basic benefit of membership across your leadership team.
  • Access to just published articles on education, leadership, management and other areas of concern and interest to school superintendents.
  • Access to the University of Pennsylvania library system.
  • Discounts to participate in special Catalyst @ Penn GSE sponsored programs (e.g., short cycle inquiries on problems of practice, workshops on strategic leadership, training in designing and leading public meetings, etc.).
  • Notification of and free access to lectures at GSE and across Penn (including Wharton, the School of Arts and Sciences, Social Work, etc.).
  • Discounted consulting services and technical assistance (e.g., community budgeting process, strategic visioning, board goal setting, program evaluation services, etc.).
  • Free books from our speakers at Joint Council and other meetings.
  • Access to notes from all study council meetings (from study council in which you belong as well as from meetings of other study councils).
  • Increased access to University facilities for educational programs (Annenberg Center and University Museum.
  • Access to a database of outstanding consultants from the University of Pennsylvania, the Delaware Valley, and across the country who have participated in Study Council Activities.
  • A free or reduced-fee consulting service of faculty from the Graduate School of Education across the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Invitations to serve as guest lecturers in University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education courses. Study Council members also teach courses on educational leadership and administration.


The Center for School Study Councils provides three broad kinds of programs and technical assistance to superintendents and their affiliated school districts.

Customized Professional Development

The Study Council staff works with affiliated school districts and other educational organizations to develop professional development workshops and retreats to meet identified organizational needs. Sample programs include:

Workshop Series

  • Excellence and Equity Workshops
  • School Leadership for Community Engagement
  • An Appreciative Look at Change

Organizational Retreats

  • System Thinking and Acting Systemically
  • Understanding and Applying Appreciative Inquiry to Leadership Activities 

Strategic Planning

The Study Council staff has adapted a variety of strategic planning models for use with educational organizations. Those adaptations incorporate aspects of idealized redesign, appreciative planning, future search, and deliberative planning into more traditional models of strategic planning to create a process that best fits the needs of our clients.

Public Leadership and Community Engagement

Public leadership is an essential component of the superintendency. This leadership goes beyond traditional public relations and beyond making district policies and practices available to parents of children in schools. Given the essential role of parents and communities in the education of the children, both must be engaged as partners, as co-producers of the educational program.We work with districts to design ways to engage stakeholders in productive deliberative dialogue that can inform superintendent and board decision-making, building stronger school-parent-community collaboration.

Member Districts and Superintendents 2022-2023

The Center for School Study Councils is a collaboration comprised of school districts organized into five separate study groups. While the original study councils were centered in the greater Philadelphia region, our membership has expanded north, south, east, and west. Those districts extend north into Berks and Bucks Counties, south into Delaware, east to the New Jersey coast, and west into Franklin County, Pennsylvania (west of Harrisburg).

Philadelphia Suburban School Study Council, Group A

Suburban School Study Council, Group A was the original School Study Council at the University of Pennsylvania. Formed in 1943 by superintendents in the inner-ring suburbs of Philadelphia, the Council expanded in 1998 to include suburban districts in New Jersey and more recently Delaware. The Council meets monthly, September through June, at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Abington Township School District | Dr. Jeffrey Fecher
  • Appoquinimink School District | Dr. Matthew Burrows
  • Bensalem Township School District | Dr. Samuel Lee
  • Bristol Township School District | Mr. Christopher Polzer
  • Bristol Township School District            | Dr. Sharon Vitella
  • Bucks County Intermediate Unit 22 | Dr. Mark Hoffman
  • Burlington County Institute of Technology | Dr. Christopher Nagy
  • Cheltenham Township School District | Dr. Brian Scriven
  • Cheltenham Township School District | Dr. Tamara Thomas-Smith
  • Cherry Hill Public Schools | Dr. Joseph Meloche
  • Chester County Intermediate Unit 24 | Dr. Noreen O'Neill
  • Christina School District | Dr. Dan Shelton
  • Christina School District | Dr. Deirdra Joyner-Aikens
  • Eastern Camden County Regional School District | Mr. Robert S. Cloutier
  • Evesham Township School District | Dr. Justin Smith
  • Haddon Heights School District | Ms. Carla Bittner
  • Haddonfield Public Schools | Mr. Charles  Klaus
  • Hatboro-Horsham School District | Dr. Scott Eveslage
  • Haverford Township School District | Dr. Maureen Reusche
  • Kennett Consolidated School District | Dr. D. Dusty Blakey
  • Lower Merion School District | Dr. Khalid Mumin
  • Lumberton Township Schools | Dr. Colleen Murray
  • Maple Shade School District | Ms. Beth Norcia
  • Mt. Laurel Township School District | Dr. George Rafferty
  • Norristown Area School District | Mr. Christopher Dormer
  • Norristown Area School District | Dr. Yolanda Williams
  • Penn-Delco School District | Dr. George Steinhoff
  • Perkiomen Valley School District | Dr. Barbara Russell
  • Princeton Public Schools | Dr. Carol Kelley
  • Radnor Township School District | Mr. Kenneth E. Batchelor
  • Southeast Delco School District | Dr. Brenda Wynder
  • Upper Darby School District | Dr. Daniel McGarry
  • Upper Darby School District | Dr. John Council
  • Upper Darby School District | Mr. Edward Marshaleck
  • Wallingford-Swarthmore School District | Dr. Wagner Marseille

Philadelphia Suburban School Study Council, Group B

Suburban School Study Council, Group B was formed in 1954 to serve school districts in the outer ring suburbs of Philadelphia. It serves school superintendents and districts from Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties. The Council meets monthly, September through May, in facilities provided by the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit.

  • Berks County Intermediate Unit 14 | Dr. Jill Hackman
  • Chester County Intermediate Unit 24 | Dr. George Fiore
  • Downingtown Area School District | Dr. Robert J. O'Donnell
  • Downingtown Area School District | Dr. Louis Chance
  • Downingtown Area School District | Dr. Robert A. Reed Jr.
  • Exeter Township School District | Dr. Christy Haller
  • Great Valley School District | Dr. Dan Goffredo
  • Great Valley School District | Dr. Stephen O'Toole
  • Great Valley School District | Dr. Joanna Wexler
  • Jenkintown School District | Dr. Jill Takacs
  • Kutztown Area School District | Mr. Christian Temchatin
  • Montgomery County Intermediate Unit 23 | Dr.  Regina C. Speaker
  • Muhlenberg School District | Dr. Joseph Macharola
  • Owen J. Roberts School District | Dr. Will Stout
  • Owen J. Roberts School District | Dr. Kathryn Soeder
  • Phoenixville Area School District           | Dr. Alan Fegley
  • Reading School District | Dr. Jennifer Murray
  • Ridley School District | Ms. Lee Ann Wentzel
  • Springfield School District | Dr. Anthony Barber
  • Springfield Township School District | Dr. MaryJo Yannacone
  • Twin Valley School District | Dr. Patrick Winters
  • Upper Merion Area School District | Dr. John Toleno
  • Upper Moreland School District | Dr. Susan Elliott
  • West Chester Area School District | Dr. Robert Sokolowski
  • Wissahickon School District | Dr. Mwenyewe Dawan

Bucks-Mercer School Study Council

The Bucks-Mercer School Study Council was created in 2019 by superintendents in northern Bucks County and adjacent PA and NJ counties. The Council meets monthly, September through June, at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit.

  • Bucks County Technical High School | Dr. Leon Poeske
  • Council Rock School District | Dr. Andrew Sanko
  • Pennridge School District | Dr. David Bolton
  • Pennridge School District | Dr. Kathy Brewster-Scheid
  • Pennridge School District | Dr. Tony Rybarczyk
  • Pennsbury School District | Dr. Thomas Smith
  • Quakertown Community School District | Dr. William Harner
  • Quakertown Community School District | Dr. Lisa Hoffman

South Penn School Study Council, Group D

South Penn School Study Council was formed in the 1957 to serve school superintendents and their districts in south central Pennsylvania. Drawing from districts in Cumberland, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York Counties, the Council meets monthly, September through May, in facilities provided by the Pennsylvania School Board Association.

  • Capital Area Intermediate Unit 15 | Dr. Maria Hoover
  • Central York School District | Dr. Peter Aiken
  • Derry Township School District | Dr. Stacy Winslow
  • Greenwood School District | Dr. Nicholas Guarente
  • Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 | Dr. Matthew Stem
  • Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12 | Dr. Jeffrey West
  • Manheim Central School District | Dr. Ryan Axe
  • Manheim Central School District | Dr. Amy Flannery
  • Mechanicsburg Area School District | Dr. Mark Leidy
  • Northeastern School District | Dr. Stacey Sidle
  • Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit 5 | Dr.  Brad Whitman
  • Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29 | Dr. Gregory Koons
  • Southern York County School District | Dr. Robert Bryson
  • Troy Area School District | Dr. Janilyn Elias
  • Upper Adams School District | Dr. Wesley Doll

South Jersey School Study Council

South Jersey School Study Council was formed in 2001. It serves school superintendents and their districts in Burlington, Gloucester, Camden, Mercer, Monmouth, and Salem counties in New Jersey. The Council meets monthly, September through May, in facilities provided by Camden County College.

  • Delsea Regional School District | Dr.  Piera Gravenor
  • Edgewater Park Township School District | Dr. Roy Rakszawski
  • Gateway Regional School District | Dr. Shannon Whalen
  • Pine Hill Borough Schools | Dr. Melissa Williams

Contact Us

For more information, contact:

Tim Foxx

Tim Foxx
Center for School Study Councils
University of Pennsylvania