The namesake of John Bartram High School was a colonial horticulturalist whose botanical gardens remain a Philadelphia fixture to this day. It therefore may be a testament to Bartram’s legacy, if not a cosmic coincidence, that Mr. Scott, a social studies teacher at Bartram High, “planted a seed” in the mind of a young Mrs. April Reynolds that she too could one day graduate from college. It was this “envisioning language,” as she calls it, that gave her the confidence to even entertain the possibility of attending college. Mr. Scott’s belief in her laid the foundation for Mrs. Reynolds to become a first-generation college graduate.
True to that point, after her freshman year at Widener University, where she was majoring in accounting, Mrs. Reynolds decided a change was needed. Although it had been a latent desire since Kindergarten, she had never seriously considered it until a meeting with a college advisor who pushed her to follow her passion. With a bold confidence, she decided to change her major to Elementary Education with a minor in Psychology. After graduating in 1994, she began teaching Kindergarten in North Philadelphia but remained hopeful that she would find a more permanent position.
Previous to taking her position in Philadelphia, Mrs. Reynolds attended a career fair where she met a representative from KCSD. Although a position wasn’t immediately available, her resume made quite the impression. The next year, when a position became available, Mr. Cammarata, Kennett’s personnel director, reached out. After a successful interview, Mrs. Reynolds had a choice to make. She had been offered a position in the Baltimore City Public School system, too. When making her decision, she realized something: at Kennett, her story mattered. While she was hopeful to teach in an urban setting, she was excited by the idea that she could be a face of diversity in Kennett Square.
In 1995, she joined the staff at Greenwood Elementary School where she hit the ground running. She took her role very seriously and dedicated herself to the school in manners big and small. For nearly 20 years, Mrs. Reynolds taught multiple grade levels and served as a writing coach for all of the district’s elementary schools. In 2016, inspired by the leadership of her colleagues, she was named Principal of Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center. There she extends the legacy of Mary D. Lang’s namesake and inspires a new generation of students, just as Mr. Scott did for her.
Mrs. Reynolds has always known that Kennett was the place she would spend the rest of her career, but after being diagnosed with breast cancer this past year, she was overwhelmed by the support and love she received from the school community. Yet, this is a reciprocal feeling; Kennett is a better place with her in it and we couldn’t be happier or prouder to celebrate her story!