April 14, 2017

Michael G. Kirsch, C’68, GED’72, GRD’74

by Juliana Rosati

Man with glasses
Michael G. Kirsch, C’68, GED’72, GRD’74
Photo by Brooke Slezak Photography
As a school principal for forty-two years, Michael G. Kirsch, C’68, GED’72, GRD’74, never tired of learning and promoting new approaches to teaching and leadership. His commitment to professional development for educators began at Penn GSE, where as a student he supported the efforts of Dr. Matthew Pillard and the Philadelphia Suburban Study Council, now known as the Center for School Study Councils.

“I worked with almost a hundred school districts to assist in planning professional development programs for administrators and superintendents,” says Kirsch. “Later, as a principal, I was always thrilled to learn new ways of working with students.”

“Over the years, ways of teaching reading and math changed a lot, as did the issues society was facing.”

Kirsch recalls the changes in education and the world that made professional development a necessity during his forty years as a principal in the Chappaqua Central School District in New York and two years leading an elementary school in Haverford Township, Pennsylvania. “There were no computers when I started my career,” he says. “Over the years, ways of teaching reading and math changed a lot, as did the issues society was facing.”

During those same four decades, Kirsch became a loyal donor to the Penn GSE Annual Fund, contributing nearly every year since 1977. A member of the Penn GSE Benchmark Society, which recognizes consistent giving, Kirsch cites the same motivation for his support of the Annual Fund that he does for his career.

“I always told teachers, we’re not here for us, we’re here for the students,” he says. “I think Penn GSE is a very worthwhile institution that has made a difference for a lot of children through wonderful teachers and administrators. My continued involvement with the School is about supporting teachers and administrators
in making the lives of children better.”

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of The Penn GSE Magazine.