Bonnie Rosen

Bonnie Rosen

"She's a believer... she believes in and celebrates the good in people," said Donna Grabner, third grade teacher at Oak Park Elementary School, in describing 2017 Knight of Honor Bonnie Rosen.

Bonnie Rosen's zest for life and passion for education can only be matched by her loyalty to the North Penn School District and her unwavering North Penn pride. Of the 45 years that Bonnie has spent working in education, she has dedicated the past 22 of those to the students, staff and community at North Penn.

A Montgomery County native, Bonnie grew up in Souderton, PA. She attended Kutztown University and earned her B.S. in Elementary Education with a minor in science in 1972. Three years later, Bonnie earned her Master of Science in Education at Temple University and in 1978, she earned her Elementary Principal's Certificate at the University of Pennsylvania.

Bonnie's career in education began straight from the gates of Kutztown University as she began teaching in the Reading School District in 1972. Here, Bonnie worked as a teacher, administrative intern and principal substitute until 1979. It was in these first seven years-during which Bonnie was named Reading and Berks County Teacher of the Year and was nominated for Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year-that she recognized her passion for educating and inspiring young learners.

This led to Bonnie founding and developing the Wooly Bear Day Care School in Lansdale in 1979. Wooly Bear was a private academic preschool and child care facility available to the employees of Merck & Co. which attracted national attention to the school and the pharmaceutical corporation. The program was recognized regionally and featured on PBS and Philadelphia TV stations.

After successfully running Wooly Bear for 15 years, Bonnie returned to the classroom and began her journey with the North Penn School District in 1995 as a first grade teacher at Inglewood Elementary School. During her time at Inglewood, Bonnie was a trainer for Harcourt Brace Signatures Integrated Language Arts Program and provided staff development sessions sharing instructional techniques and materials. She was involved in district and building technology committees and provided staff with computer training.

During this time, Bonnie also worked as an assistant professor of education at Montgomery County Community College from 1986 to 1998. She taught early childhood, elementary and secondary education majors in various required courses, one of which she designed, developed and taught herself. She also served as Professional Development Instructor at the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit from 1995 to 1998 where she developed and taught a course on interdisciplinary thematic units incorporating teacher-produced instructional support materials.

In 1998, Bonnie's unique skillset and innovative approach to education landed her the position of Principal at Bridle Path Elementary School. In September of 2004, Bonnie shifted gears and spent the next 10 months as an Elementary Reading, Writing and Mathematics Instructional Coach and Coaching Coordinator in the North Penn School District. In July 2005, Bonnie was named Principal of Oak Park Elementary School where she would stay until her retirement in November of 2011.

"A quote from Baruti Kafele could effectively summarize Bonnie Rosen's style of leadership," said Jennifer Sweeney, fifth grade teacher at Oak Park Elementary School. "As a principal you must think: I am a leader. I'm a nurturer. I am an encourager... I am the number one determinant to the success or failure of my school."

Noble and warm in her approach, Bonnie Rosen lived by these words and set an excellent example as a selfless leader for the staff at Bridle Path and Oak Park elementary schools. Her nurturing nature appealed to all students, staff, administrators and families with a special knack for knowing just how to encourage each of them in a variety of ways.

"When we were faced with the challenge to support a family in need, Bonnie found ways to make us feel empowered to assist them," said Jennifer Sweeney. She did this by helping teachers and support staff find resources for assistance, even if this meant drawing from her own pocket at times.

Student success was always Bonnie's driving force, but her nurturing style of leadership made this happen effectively. Bonnie's approach was twofold. First and foremost, she advocated for her students and strived to provide them with the best education possible in a way that was unique to their individual needs. Bonnie knew that in order to achieve this, she must also equip her staff with the necessary tools, attitude and environment to allow them to develop a learning atmosphere that was unlike any other for the students at her school.

During her time as principal of Bridle Path and Oak Park elementary schools, Bonnie spearheaded a variety of fresh and creative programs to do just this. She piloted and trained district staff in the Effective Schools initiative and acted as the Professional Learning Communities district trainer. Bonnie developed and implemented the instructional coaching program in the North Penn School District for grades K-12 and piloted "lesson study" collaboration with district Instructional Coaches. She was a part of the Professional Evaluation Model Committee, the Reading/Language Arts Committee and numerous other academic and leadership committees throughout the district, community, region and state.

"I remember collaborating with wise and supportive supervisors, mentors, colleagues and a wide spectrum of staff who provided invaluable learning experiences and professional development," Bonnie said. "I benefitted from the many team-building practices and value these exercises that strengthened my cooperative planning and acceptance of unique and original ideas."

Bonnie's dedication to professional development in the North Penn School District was evidenced by the overwhelming feeling of support that her staff felt during her time as principal. "Bonnie consistently found ways to find and nurture the positive qualities of all staff members. She was sensitive to areas that needed improvement and discreetly used constructive criticism to help us enhance our teaching skills," said Jennifer Sweeney.

Teamwork always came first when Bonnie was leading a building or district initiative or program. This teamwork often included Bonnie moving throughout school hallways with pom-poms and an enthusiastic chant. "My personal favorite was the PSSA cheer, 'Do your best! Let's ace this test!'" Jennifer Sweeney recalled.

Following Bonnie's retirement from North Penn as Principal of Oak Park in November of 2011, it wasn't long until she returned in February of 2013 acting as a substitute principal and curriculum coordinator when needed. In fact, this fall she will be stepping in once again as an interim curriculum coordinator.

But don't be fooled by Bonnie's brief hiatus from employment with North Penn. She spent this time as an adjunct professor and student teacher supervisor for English Language Learners and the Multicultural Classroom at Delaware Valley College. Bonnie also observed elementary and secondary student teachers from St. Joseph's University, Delaware Valley University and currently Temple University in the North Penn School District and other Montgomery and Bucks County School Districts.

Bonnie's dedication to advocating for our youth and harvesting extraordinary educators has reached far beyond her day job. Bonnie was a member of the North Penn Chamber of Commerce and served on the Board of Directors for the North Penn Valley Boys and Girls Club. She served as a Child Care Consultant for Doylestown Hospital and McNeil, and was President of the Montgomery-Bucks Association for Education of Young Children. Bonnie was a member of the Montgomery County Community College Early Childhood Advisory Committee, Pennsylvania School Board Association, Montgomery County Principals and Supervisors Association, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and served as secretary on the Board of Directors for the Delaware Valley Child Care Council. Bonnie was a North Penn United Way Community Investment Team Member and was named "Superhero for Kids" by the organization in 2012 and Volunteer of the Year in 2013.

You can still find Bonnie volunteering at the North Penn Craft Fair and reading to NPSD elementary students at the Penn Suburban Chamber of Commerce's Community Reading Day alongside her husband, Bob Rosen. Bob currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the NPSD Educational Foundation as the Grant Review Committee Chair.

Bonnie's fondest memories of her time spent as a teacher and principal in the NPSD involve the students, their families, her colleagues and friends. "I have great memories witnessing the tireless efforts of staff striving to provide an environment where all students can meet success," Bonnie said. "Observing the joys of the 'a-ha,' teachable moments, when students 'get it' - whether learning how to read, understanding a new concept or process or making connections from past learning," she continued.

Seeing the pride in the faces of families witnessing their children's accomplishments in academics, athletics or the arts are also heart-warming reminiscences for Bonnie. She especially treasures her encounters with former students, families and staff as they share a remembrance or an endearing story from the past or share highlights of their successful endeavors beyond the classroom walls.

"In my mind's eye I see the positive results of administrators, staff and community members that value innovation to prepare students for a world that changes from day to day and for a future that holds incredible discoveries," Bonnie said.

Bonnie Rosen deeply cherishes her opportunity to share ideas and learn from everyone in the North Penn School District. "I am, because of you," she explained in reference to the many students, staff and families of North Penn, both past and present. "You are part of my existence."