Dan Park named vice principal of Bellefonte Elementary School
Growing up, Dan Park imagined he’d run the family business – a trucking company in Snow Shoe. But his parents had different plans for the now longtime educator who was named vice principal of Bellefonte Elementary School, effective Aug. 1.
“I didn’t have a clear path my senior year of high school and I give all the credit to my parents and father who was a business owner,” Park said. “He worked seven days a week and I grew up in that environment. My intention was to do that – own trucks and have a trucking company, but my parents said, ‘Go to college. If you want to still do it, then you can do it after graduation’.”
Instead, he found a career path in education – first in the classroom as a technology education teacher. He started at the middle school with Huntingdon Area School District, followed by getting a teaching job two years later at Bellefonte Area High School. Seven years ago, former high school Principal Jen Brown hired Park as vice principal of the high school, working together to help oversee building operations.
“I like working with my hands and I like people, and I found tech ed was the perfect fit,” Park said. “I could work with kids and do something I enjoyed, and have had a phenomenal career, but I got into (education) because my parents wanted more for me.”
Now, he’ll be working again with Brown who has been the principal of Bellefonte Elementary School for four years.
“I see it as a partnership,” Park said about working with Brown. “There are different matters here as opposed to the high school. It’s more about being a role model and fatherly figure and making sure you’re there when they need you.”
Responsibilities include supervising staff, handling disciplinary issues, taking part in committees and more.
“I love little kids and thought I haven’t been in elementary school professionally yet and it was a good opportunity,” Park said. “I have a daughter in 10th grade and a son going to kindergarten, so I’m living it as a father and in my career, and think it will be cool to chronical what he does starting in kindergarten.”
He also has personal and professional goals to be accessible and approachable with staff and families, and be there when and where needed to help make sure staff and students are successful.
“We’re all doing the best we can in the circumstances we have and it’s refreshing to see so many teachers go out of their way for the kids,” Park said. “There are things we all don’t want to do, but everyone is coming together to make good things happen.”
Park is a Class of 1997 graduate of Bald Eagle Area High School. He graduated from California University of Pennsylvania in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in technology education. He also received his master’s degree and principal certification from Cal U. The 2020-21 school year will mark Park’s 20th year in education. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with family, camping, fishing and hunting.
*By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD