School Leadership Program names new director

May 15, 2019

After 11 years at Penn GSE — and career as one of the most respected voices on education leadership — Earl Ball is retiring as the director of the School Leadership Program.

Earl Ball, Penn GSE
Dr. Earl Ball

Steve Piltch, the long-serving head of The Shipley School, will take over as program director this summer.

Ball came to Penn GSE in 2007 to help develop the School Leadership Program, which launched the following year. He helped create the program’s collaborative learning community – where working educators could share expertise and real-world challenges with faculty and fellow students.

Students and alumni have credited Ball with helping them find their voices as school leaders and serving as a source of wisdom long after graduation.

The School Leadership Program focuses on the dynamics of instructional, organizational, public, and evidence-based leadership — with coursework designed to help students draw connections between theory and practice by applying learning in school settings. Every student is assigned a mentor who works directly and deeply with them over the course of the year.

Before coming to Penn GSE, Ball served as Head of the William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia for 31 years. During that time, he was involved with independent schools both locally and nationally. That involvement included serving as president of the Country Day School Headmasters Association, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools, president of the Headmasters Association, and as a board member of the National Association of Independent Schools.

Steve Pilch

Piltch, who currently serves as a mentor in the School Leadership Program, is prepared to continue building on Ball’s legacy.

His 27-year tenure leading Shipley, a Pre-K-12 independent day school in Bryn Mawr, has been marked by substantial increases in enrollment, diversity, physical space, and endowment.

Piltch also has overseen the implementation of the Social, Emotional and Ethical Development (SEED) curriculum, an integrated learning experience that draws from practices in positive education, academic and social emotional learning, and emotional intelligence. 


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