In writing a profile on any individual, it is routine to ask "where are you from?" Also common is to hear about local roots and family ties to the area. Therefore, it was somewhat of a surprise to hear Megan Scelfo answer, "The Cajun coast of Louisiana." Megan, the middle of three children, is a long way away from her family, who still reside in rural Louisiana.
So, how did Megan come to apply for and become the new E. T. Richardson Middle School Assistant Principal?
To answer that, one must know that the path was not exactly a direct line. Megan attended Louisiana State University, majoring in English Literature and Sociology. However, her next phase started to lead her onto her path. She became a member of Teach for America (TFA), which was developed in 1990. In 1993, TFA was one of several charter programs of the federal government initiative called AmeriCorps. The program welcomed individuals with academic and leadership skills, but not necessarily a college degree in education, to provide quality education for low income communities.
Although TFA is robust in the south, including Megan's home state, she arrived to work in North Philadelphia.
"I visited Philadelphia on spring break prior to college graduation. Someone from LSU was with TFA here. When I joined, it was easier because I was part of a group, and we were all doing the same transition," Megan said.
The TFA commitment is two years. Megan cited the statistic as about 60 percent of corps members going on to different careers. She, however, found her calling.
"I fell in love with education. I particularly loved the middle school ages—kids figuring out who they are. It seemed to tie into my sociology background."
In the meantime, she also met and fell in love with her husband, Bill Handy. Bill, who hails from Chester County, contributed to the decision to remain in the area. Megan continued in the Philadelphia School District, while attaining a Master's degree in Education from Chestnut Hill College and Administrative Certification from Temple University.
That she was chosen from a pool of candidates estimated around 200 is not something Megan could articulate. When pressed, she said her work of more than a decade in a number of schools included an ample amount of experience in leadership roles. She has the philosophy and confidence in understanding people and maximizing strengths, knowledge, and gifts. That will be true for students and colleagues.
"I understand the need of finding out how to marry my professional and personal background with where the community is. It will be true that I will be doing everything here for the first time, but I don't want to give the impression I can't jump in and contribute," Megan said.
Until it was pointed out to her, Megan was unaware of how many times she used the word "navigate" in conversation. She is navigating the transition to ETR and the Springfield/Morton communities, getting to know the assets and culture, and thankful for institutional knowledge of those around her. Students, she recognizes immediately, are navigating their identity and social independence of middle-school years.
"I am very excited about the advisory program and everything the school and community do to insure kids are successful. I know there is a common goal of providing the best education."
Megan said she has felt very welcome and is already feels the district and community is a "really, really wonderful place to work and wants to get to know it better."
On the flip side, Springfield can get to know Megan Scelfo, hear about her Basset Hound Ella, and musically talented husband. And not to forget her roots, Megan added, "If you want to cook a gumbo, I'm your person."