New face for Brandywine: Elementary school welcomes new Principal Karen Long

Laura Dillon - Berks-Mont Newspapers Brandywine Heights Elementary School Principal Karen Long on first day of school Aug. 25:

Topton >> For Brandywine Heights Elementary School, the start of school brings the first full year of administration for Principal Karen Long after taking the position in November of 2013.

Principal Long begins the year with a number of goals for her new school. At the forefront of these is establishing a rapport with the families of students and within the community.

“I have to figure out what is best for the kids and our community,” said Long.

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To connect with families, Principal Long plans on inviting parents on specific evenings to come learn how to better assist their children with certain subjects like math and reading.

To connect with the community, Principal Long has become involved with a task force that focuses on putting a halt to the heroin concerns, specifically in and around the Topton area. Having educators involved in order to further protect students is important to Principal Long.

“I try to balance community with education,” she said.

Before coming to Brandywine, Long’s career took off in the Daniel Boone School District. She worked for 13 years as a third grade teacher before becoming the Head Teacher with the responsibility of running her building. She held that position for one year and was offered the job as Assistant Principal. Long held this position for one year. In November of last year, Principal Long applied for the job at Brandywine on a whim.

“I wasn’t even thinking it,” Long replied when asked about her reason for applying.

“I enjoyed helping in a different way as Assistant Principal at Daniel Boone.” She carries this with her to Brandywine Elementary. “I’m helping the teachers help the students,” she said.

She expressed gratitude for her new position, “I feel very blessed.”

The size of the school district is a welcomed change for the new principal, and she enjoys the people she works with. “The people here care,” she said of the new district. “Everyone is child-centered.”

For Principal Long, the focus never strays from the education and well being of the student.

As the first day of school commenced, Principal Long could be seen greeting her new and returning students, shuffling kids to meet their teachers and see their classrooms and interacting with parents and teachers. The teachers are excited to have Principal Long at Brandywine Elementary.

“We’re lucky to have a great new principal,” said a third grade teacher Michelle Beekman.

Long received a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Penn State. She went on to earn her teaching certification from West Chester and her Master’s from Wilkes University. She earned her principal certification from Alvernia University.