Well we are off and running here in South Western!  As you can imagine the last 2 months have been a whirlwind for me and the staff.  The start of every school year is a time of anticipation for a wonderful school year and excitement to meet new friends.  I have seen both of these first hand as I have visited each school multiple times over these past few months.  It is one of my favorite things to do, visit classrooms and witness the outstanding opportunities for our students.

While I have been impressed by many different moments here in South Western; I think some of the most impressive moments were in classrooms where students were challenged by their teacher(s) to think outside the box.  Or, when a student works together with a classmate to “tackle” a problem.  I have also been impressed by the reimagining of some of the school district’s classrooms.  Reimagining through flexible seating appearing all across the district.  It has been said the classroom design has not changed in a hundred years.  Well, I would invite those people to our school district to see some of the innovative ways the seating in our classrooms has changed, inviting students to converse about their learning and the tasks that have been assigned to the class.

One more topic before I end my opening letter to you, the South Western Community.  The topic is pride.  It has been one of the most palpable feelings I have experienced since my arrival.  It started with the excitement at the bus stops when Dr. Hartman and I rode the buses on the first day of school.  It was reinforced by the spirit sticks and school building t-shirts worn during sprit week, and one of my favorites, the lip sync challenge held at the HS Pep Rally between the students and the teachers.  There is such a feeling of community pride in all we do here in South Western.  So, as we continue our journey together this school year, I would ask you to continue your support by showing your pride in our school district and continue your support of our students and teachers, for it is you that drives us all to be the best we can be!

Dr. Jay H. Burkhart

Superintendent (2017-Present)

Responsible for organization and implementation of all programs and personnel.  Provide informed professional leadership to board and staff. Oversee selection, deployment, and supervision of all district employees.  Lead in development of two-way system of internal and external communications for district. Lead in the development and maintenance of cooperation between schools and community.

Dr. Burkhart’s evaluation was completed on June 26, 2019, and he met the objective performance standards in his Contract.




  • Learner Achievement – Closing the Achievement Gap
    To ensure that all learners are reading on level by the end of third grade, proficient/advanced learners will make at least 1 academic year of growth, and all non-proficient learners will make more than a year’s worth of academic growth.
  • Mass Customized Learning
    Implement Plan for Learner Personalization at the Elementary Level.

Emory H. Markle Intermediate School


  • Mass Customized Learning
    To create a school that is the model for the ideal middle school learning experience.
  • Mass Customized Learning
    To provide a support structure that equips our educators with the necessary knowledge, resources and support to create the conditions for the ideal middle school learning experience.
  • Student Achievement – Closing the Achievement Gap
    To have learners in grades 6-8 meet the standard or show academic growth as measured on benchmarks and standardized testing in ELA, mathematics and science.

South Western High School


  • Learner Achievement
    Establish a system that ensures Customized Learning is being supported throughout the school.
  • Learner Achievement
    Establish a system within the school that fully ensures a Culture of Learning and Relationships.

Administration – Director of Data & Instructional Technology


  • District Vision and Customized Learning
    Lead and facilitate the implementation of new district-wide technology tools that support and enhance customized learning opportunities for all stakeholders.
  • District Vision
    Recruit and empower learners for increasing and improving the use of district social media accounts to publicize South Western events and accomplishments in collaboration with the superintendent, administrators and facilitators.
  • Student Achievement
    Utilize Sapphire Data Mining to inform decisions about instruction, learning, attendance and behavior.

Administration – Reading/ELA Supervisor


  • Learner Achievement – Closing the Achievement Gap
    Learners K-12 will show significant evidence that they have exceeded the standards for PA Academic Growth for ELA based on PVAAS data and the School Performance Profile (SPP).
  • Facilitator Growth
    Cultivate a “culture of learning” for facilitators and para-educators that promotes learner agency and efficacy.

Administration – Pupil Services


  • Student Achievement
    Student support: Evaluate growth, as measured by data, and provide support and direction to support student growth and achievement at all levels.
  • Student Achievement
    Ensure District Compliance as required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
  • Student Achievement
    Implement the Special Education Plan as part of the District Comprehensive Plan.

Administration – Assistant Superintendent


  • Entry Plan
    Successfully implement the goals and action steps established in the entry plan for the assistant superintendent position.
  • Curriculum/Professional Development
    Collaborate with the Director of Data and Instructional Technology, Director of Technology, and building principals to develop and execute the implementation plan for the itslearning LMS, specifically the migration of K-12 curriculum documents and the professional development plan.
  • Professional Development
    Collaborate with the Director of Data and Instructional Technology, building principals to integrate Atomic Learning into the district professional development plan for district facilitators and staff.
  • Professional Development
    Begin to transition the district to a competency-based personalized professional development program through the development of professional learning competencies and alignment of district professional learning competencies to professional learning offerings by the district professional growth committee.

Administration – Business Administrator


Achieve a successful resolution to the contract negotiations process with SWEA.
Participate as the PASBO representative to the State PlanCon Advisory Committee.
Investigate the possible implementation of a time clock system.

Director of Accounting Services


  • Assist the Business Administrator with the contract negotiations process with SWEA.
  • Request for Proposal for Audit Services.
  • Audit the District’s Student Activity Funds.
  • Implement the change to the new banking institution.

Director of School Facilities


  • Plan for EHMIS renovation.
  • Re-certification of PASBO Facility Award.
  • Get restroom facility for stadium.

Supervisor of Maintenance


Develop an Electrical Safety Program for the Maintenance department.
Develop training sessions for Head Custodians and Custodians.

Director of Transportation


Investigate custom transportation for custom learning schedules.
Update South Western’s school bus driver training manual.
Create a video for elementary parents.
Create a bus safety training for our LIU learners.

Director of Food and Nutrition Services


  • Convert the former Sports Booster’s Food Truck into a Food Truck to be used in the Food Service Department to serve meals to students at all schools throughout the year.
  • Organize and direct the District Wellness Committee with a goal to implement the District’s Wellness Policy throughout the district.
  • Implement new MealViewer Hardware and Software program.

Director of Technology


  • Implementation of 1:1 devices in 5th & 6th grade.
  • Learning Management System Implementation.
  • Investigate Technology Issues for the District.

Administration – Superintendent


  • To continue to share with school and community groups updates and progress with the district vision.
  • To be a resource for the leadership team as each level implements the plans to achieve the district vision.