Saturday, September 22, 2012

Donald DeNardo Erie Principal died in 2012

-Academy Star, December 1982 issue.
Donald R. DeNardo was born in Erie, PA on June 12, 1927. He died on June 29, 2012 in Millcreek Twp., PA. Mr. DeNardo had a positive influence on the lives of many students in Erie, PA. Here is an article I wrote for the Academy Star in December of 1982:

DeNardo Enjoys Early Retirement

by Debbi Young
After serving thirty years within the Erie School District, (eighteen of them at Academy) Principal Donald DeNardo decided to take a well deserved early retirement. Mr. DeNardo was offered the opportunity to retire during the 1981-82 school year; changes in regulations would have made him ineligible for early retirement had he delayed the decision another year.

Prior to becoming principal at Academy, Mr. DeNardo held a variety of positions at other city schools. From 1950 to 1952 he was a substitute teacher at East High School and Wilson Junior High School. He secured a position teaching social studies at Strong Vincent High School from 1952-58. In 1958 he was promoted to the ever faithful position of Guidance Counselor at Strong Vincent. Here he remained for six years.

Mr. DeNardo came to Academy in 1964 and was thrust head-long into the authoritative position of vice-principal. The real fun began when he replaced the former principal Michael Ferrare in 1972. Mr. DeNardo was only one of seven principals that reigned during Academy's 62 years of existence.

Mr. DeNardo received his Bachelor's degree from Duquesne University in 1951, and his Master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1956.

During his college years, Mr. DeNardo was employed in a wide array of summer jobs. He worked as a bus boy, sold shoes, worked in a bakery, worked at an Erie industrial plant, and was a mail man. He served in the army for two years, and in the occupation forces after World War II.

The job of principal revolves around an intricate set of day to day duties; a work load that most people wouldn't encounter in an average week's time. What other job involves developing a program and curriculum guide, scheduling classes for over eleven hundred students, preparing for evaluations, dealing with the administrators from downtown, and disciplining students. Added to the list is attending banquets and social functions, taking phone calls from irate Academy neighbors and last but not least, Mr. DeNardo read the announcement twice a day over the school P.A. system.

Mr. DeNardo felt that in general, the student body at Academy was well behaved. But there are always exceptions; locker break-ins and drug use were uncalled for. That was and still remains the general attitude among administrators. Mr. DeNardo conceded that he wasn't particularly fond of teachers strikes, but at the same time added that he respected the teachers' rights.

The serious atmosphere in the main office sparks a different reaction from various individuals. Mr. DeNardo found the time to kid around with students, teachers, and the office staff. Fortunately enough, the reverse was also true. In celebration of Mr. DeNardo's fifty-sixth birthday, the office staff and the two assistant principals bestowed upon him a somewhat unusual present. Much to his surprise, a belly dancer relayed the birthday wishes to the staff.

Along with the responsibilities of being principal, Mr. DeNardo was involved in the PIAA District 10 Sports Administration. For the past ten years he has had a seat on the board of control in Harrisburg. The Board of Control makes up the rules and regulations that govern the Pennsylvania athletic teams. Mr. DeNardo was Chairman of the Board from 1975 until his retirement last year.

Mr. DeNardo was particularly pleased with the advances that have been made in the girls' sports programs. The growth has resulted in a girls' sports program that is equal to the boys'.

Mr. DeNardo will spend the immediate future relaxing and enjoying his retirement. In the coming months he plans to look for part time employment and is seriously thinking of becoming a substitute teacher once again.

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