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District names new principal for Quakertown Community High School

New QCHS Principal Mattias van’t Hoenderdaal and his wife Maggie with three children: Margot 10, Eli 8 and Weston 2.

New QCHS principal Mattias van’t Hoenderdaal and his wife Maggie with their three children: Margot 10, Eli 8 and Weston 2.

By Gary Weckselblatt

Beginning July 1, Quakertown Community High School will have a new principal.

The Quakertown Community School Board voted 9-0 Thursday night in support of the administration’s recommendation to name Mattias van 't Hoenderdaal to the position previously held by Dr. David Finnerty.

Mr. van’t Hoenderdaal, 35, is currently principal of School Lane Charter School’s International Baccalaureate Campus. Located in Bensalem, Bucks County, the IB Campus educates approximately 500 students in grades 7-12.

“I’m very excited and honored,” said Mr. van’t Hoenderdaal, who couldn’t attend the June 13 Board meeting because of School Lane’s graduation. “I’m eager to get started and get to know the community. For me, it’s about making an impact in the lives of students.”

Assistant Superintendent Nancianne Edwards, who supervises the district’s principals, said Mr. van’t Hoenderdaal developed School Lane’s IB program from scratch and has “a very detailed entry plan” ready for when he starts at QCHS.

She said the district held several rounds of principal interviews, and student, teacher and administrator representatives were part of the process. “They were unanimous in moving forward (with Mr. van’t Hoenderdaal),” Ms. Edwards said. Last week he was interviewed by Board members.

Mr. van’t Hoenderdaal has been School Lane’s high school principal since 2014. Additionally, he has mentored graduate students from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to School Lane, he was the IB coordinator at Northeast High School in Philadelphia, where he previously taught high school mathematics.

He has a masters degree in school leadership from Penn, and a masters in secondary education (mathematics) from Holy Family University. His bachelor’s degree, from Cairn University, is in pastoral ministries/biblical studies.

When he moved to the United States from The Netherlands in 2005, and attended Cairn, Mr. van’t Hoenderdaal’s plan was to become a pastor. However, he found himself too young to be counseling people three and four times his age. He turned to teaching, he said, as it is in alignment with counseling. “I’m making a difference in the lives of others,” he said.

At School Lane, “I’ve learned a lot and now seems like a good time to take the next step,” he said.

That next step includes a district he thinks highly of. “Quakertown has an excellent reputation for academics, the arts, athletics and educating the whole child,” he said. “The steps being taken by the administration on social and emotional learning are very intriguing.”

Mr. van’t Hoenderdaal and his wife Maggie have three children: Margot 10, Eli 8 and Weston 2. Mrs. van’t Hoenderdaal is a kindergarten teacher at Glenside Elementary School in the Cheltenham School District.

In March, Dr. Finnerty accepted the Assistant Superintendent position in the Twin Valley School District. Tonight at Stabler Arena he will speak at Quakertown’s graduation ceremonies.

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.