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James P. Capolupo ’74, superintendent of the Springfield (Pa.) School District, has been named 2014 Superintendent of the Year by the National Association of School Superintendents (NASS).
Since 2005, Capolupo has led the Springfield School District, developing the district’s focus on literacy and the adoption of the district’s motto “We Believe Every Student Can Read.” He supervised the opening of the kindergarten and first grade Literacy Center in 2010; the facility is a Gold LEED Certified building, winning five national awards in two years. Under his direction, the district focuses on two goals every year: 100% of fourth grade students read at grade level and 100% of students go on to college. Every district school has reached Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) seven years in a row.
Calling the honor “a humbling experience,” Capolupo said, “Recognitions of this magnitude are never the result of the work of one person; this exemplifies the collaborative spirit of ‘The Cougar Way.’” He credited his success to “the Board of School Directors, administrative team, faculty, staff and families.”
James Capolupo’s Principles
1. Do not underestimate the importance of being steadfast as a leader.
2. You can never, ever waiver on integrity.
3. Listen, understand, but be decisive when you need to be.
This year, honors for the district included the national recognition of E.T. Richardson Middle School as a 2014 Pennsylvania Don Eichhorn Schools: School to Watch; nomination of Springfield HS as a Top High School by the Washington Post (#3 in Delaware County and #33 in Pennsylvania); and a Best Communities for Music Education designation by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation. Other recent awards: America’s Best High Schools from Newsweek; Best Public High Schools from Philadelphia Magazine; and Exemplary Reading Program from the International Reading Association.
Capolupo supports his colleagues and promotes his profession as a member of the NASS Executive Committee and the American Association of School Administrators and his state association. Recently, he represented superintendents across the country at the White House “Forum on Ensuring Academic Success: The Connection Between Education Success and Student Substance Use,” cohosted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Department of Education.
He earned his bachelor of science from West Chester in 1974 and started his career as an elementary, middle, and high school band director. He also taught music at the college level at Princeton and Lincoln universities and continues to teach at several Philadelphia-area colleges.
In addition, Capolupo serves the music world as a judge for the Cavalcade of Bands and as head director of the American Music Abroad Bronze Tour of Europe for high school musicians.
Capolupo sees today’s superintendent as “champions for public schools. … I find the job extremely rewarding, always challenging, while being humbled by the responsibility of helping so many young people.”