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Current Position: Vice Principal at Cheltenham High School
Story Last Updated: September 2016
Current Position Updated: March 2019
Growing up in Cheltenham Township, Pa., Craig Metcalfe ’05 was destined to sculpt young minds. He was the student who knew all of the teachers, was heavily involved in activities, and even taught tennis professionally.
Metcalfe kicked off the 2015-16 school year as the newly appointed principal of Universal Vare Charter School in South Philadelphia. It is a position he has been preparing for since he was a kid, tagging along with his father, who is also a teacher.
"Following in his footsteps was something I wasn’t shy about doing at all because I saw everyone who respected my father and I like how they reacted to him,” Metcalfe said. "He was the one who kept me around kids and showed me this different world that many fail to experience.”
After graduating from West Chester University, Metcalfe’s first teaching job was with the School District of Philadelphia at Engineering and Science High School. He soon moved onto the North Penn School District, then Norristown High School, eventually making his way back to Cheltenham High School, his alma mater.
While he was fulfilling his lifelong dream, Metcalfe was left wanting more.
"I wanted to have a larger say with what was going on at a school. It didn’t matter if it was School A, School B or School C,” Metcalfe said. "You being the one to call the shots, putting your stamp on what’s going to happen, is very important.”
Metcalfe earned his Master of Science in Educational Administration with a Principal Certificate from Gwynedd Mercy University in 2005. It was here where he was able to learn from experienced administrators, especially when it came to teaching in the inner city.
Metcalfe hopes to use what he learned at GMercyU as principal of Universal Vare Charter School, a school that has seen its fair share of challenges in the past. Located in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Point Breeze, Universal Vare Charter School is using its new leadership to become one of the city’s most promising schools.
While Metcalfe is focused on the school’s STEAM initiative, “Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics,” his main priority is hiring and maintaining educators who share his passion.
"One of the first things I ask teachers is why did you become a teacher? If it’s anything other than I love kids…you don’t become a teacher because you love math…you become a teacher because you love kids,” Metcalfe said. “That’s the one definite if you want to get involved in education."