CV Welcomes Dr. Christopher

Superintendent Dr. Christopher
Posted on 08/30/2019
Superintendent Dr. ChristopherGetting to Know Cumberland Valley’s New Superintendent
Evan Williams
Staff Writer
[email protected]

With the retirement of Superintendent Dr. Frederick S. Withum III, Cumberland Valley welcomes Dr. David E. Christopher to take up the reigns leading into the 2019-2020 school year.

Appointed in June of 2019, Dr. Christopher has had ample time to acquaint himself with his new job, but many students have not yet had a chance to be introduced to the district’s new leader.

Dr. Christopher is a 1992 graduate of Elizabethtown High School, a much smaller school than Cumberland Valley, but he said enjoyed his time there, and the school provided him with a great education and upbringing. He went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Juniata College. After this, Dr. Christopher spent ten years at Shippensburg University earning both his Master’s Degree and Doctorate.

While his extensive education is important to the district, Dr. Christopher’s numerous years of experience provide even more value. Upon graduating from Juniata, Dr. Christopher was offered an elementary teaching job in the Juniata Valley School District. He spent nine years in the position, and eventually became the elementary’s dean of students for two years, and then the principal for a year.
 He then worked his way up to the high school, where he was the principal for five years, and the superintendent for another three. Dr. Christopher spoke on the tremendous experience he gained from Juniata Valley, he mentioned how small the student population was and stated, “it was like a big lab experiment.” He was given extensive duties and said he learned a lot from his tenure there.

From here, he became the assistant superintendent, and then the deputy superintendent, at North Allegheny School District, a district that he says is incredibly similar to CV. Here he gained experience managing a much larger school district with issues similar to those that face Cumberland Valley.

Dr. Christopher’s involvement with the district began when he met Dr. Withum at a retirement party in December. The two discussed similarities between their respective districts, and when Dr. Christopher received news of the job opening, he toured the district’s facilities and decided this was the place for him. He said that Cumberland Valley was a good mix of the areas he had experienced. 

The district did extensive background research on him to make sure he was the right person for the job. On this, Dr. Christopher said, “it’s a good lesson to be nice to everybody you work with.”

Upon being selected to fill the position, Dr. Christopher noted the striking similarities between Cumberland Valley and North Allegheny. Both districts are experiencing rapid population growth with changing demographics, but this is something he says he is used to and very prepared to handle.

He was also adamant about the fact that change is challenging, and students and staff must be adaptable. Furthering this point, he said, “The world you’re coming into as a graduate is very different than the one I went into.”

Aside from similarities to North Allegheny, Dr. Christopher also noted comparisons to Juniata Valley, both districts have rural regions and large land areas. He spoke on his fondness of Cumberland Valley’s small town feel and said he was very impressed with the sense of community here, something that was not as present at North Allegheny.

Dr. Christopher spoke on the improvements he plans to make at Cumberland Valley as well, mentioning incredibly visionary and forward-moving plans. Challenges such as rapidly increasing enrollment and scaling technology are big ticket items for Dr. Christopher, however he was adamant on the issues of creating a more diverse environment and focusing education on facing real-world problems rather than memorization of facts.

"When you go out into the world and get a job, nobody is gonna hand you a worksheet. They’re gonna hand you a project, or they’re gonna say ‘what do you think we should do?’ and you have to find the project.”

He concluded by strongly advising students going into the next chapter of their lives to “find something that makes you happy and passionate. There’s nothing worse than going to work everyday and hating it.”

Dr. Christopher has found that passion through education, and he says that he loves every minute of it. He also wants students to know that he is a very approachable man and cares about every student as an individual, he is frequently in the high school and enjoys spending time in the cafeteria talking to students.

He welcomes the student body to say hello and even let him know if there is anything they feel needs changed at the district.

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