New Principal Mrs. Guarriello Returns to SLHS


Saskia Van't Hof

Mrs. Guarriello transfers from Saucon Valley to Southern Lehigh as the new principal.

On the football field, the Saucon Valley Panthers and the Southern Lehigh Spartans are undeniably rivals. But if there’s one thing both schools can agree on, it’s the fact that any school is lucky to have Mrs. Beth Guarriello as their principal.

As of July 1, 2018, Mrs. Guarriello returned to Southern Lehigh High School to serve as principal, after previously working as a Southern Lehigh assistant principal from 2014-17.

“The great kids and great teachers [was what brought me back],” Mrs. Guarriello said. “I knew this place had great potential, and I wanted to see where that could take us. I wanted to come back and be a part of that.”

Mrs. Guarriello has brought more than just experience; she has ideas.

“When I was here as an assistant principal, I don’t think we saw a lot of change. I hope you’re seeing this year that we’re starting to change,” she said. “We’re more open to listening and more open to changes.”

Over the past month, Mrs. Guarriello has begun implementing many new forums so that students, parents, and teachers can be heard. At the class meetings, she brought poster boards and encouraged students to write down their ideas on how to make the school a better place. She also started student advisory meetings once a month to hear students’ plans in more detail in order to build a better SLHS. These meetings are open to all students.

“My biggest inspiration is you guys,” Mrs. Guarriello said. “I really love working with students. I want to do what is right for kids and I want to create good memories…I want to make this place a better place.”

Mrs. Guarriello’s main goal as principal is to bridge the communication gap between students and administrators. She also wants to foster more positivity between classmates. In only a few weeks, she has reinvented the Aevidum club (formerly known as SPIRIT club) and organized student and faculty advisory committees.

”I’ve known Mrs. Guarriello for a number of years. My first impression was that she’s a strong leader, [and] she is hardworking,” assistant principal Mr. Thomas Ruhf said. “I don’t think anyone can outwork her. She just cares deeply about everything she does.”

Southern Lehigh High School has already seen some big changes in the first month. Inspirational quotes decorate the corridors, and rules regarding beverages have been relaxed. There is even a “Coffee House” every morning in the cafeteria where students and faculty can order drinks and listen to music.

When is comes to academics, Guarriello also wants to impose some change; she’s motivating teachers to challenge their students and encourages students to go the extra mile.

“[I am most impacted by] the fact that I feel like she cares about student input,” senior Ben Boyer said. “I think that [Mrs. Guarriello] wants to see student ideas come to life; she wants [the student body] to be more involved.”

Mrs. Guarriello is eager to start up new traditions. Most recently, she encouraged student-led tailgates before home football games. There, she helps serve snacks and plays homemade cornholl games with the students. Another suggestion that Mrs. Guarriello has taken into consideration is decorated graduation caps and a senior class video.

“Personally, I think that Mrs. Guarriello has done a great job with communicating with the students to better our high school’s environment for the future,” senior Mary Felix said. “Ever since Mrs. Guarriello has come back, there is a happier and more comfortable environment in the school.”

Outside of school, Mrs. Guarriello loves to read and play with her three dogs. She has been married to her husband for 29 years, and is the proud mother of three adult children, each with a drive to succeed similar to their mother’s. Her oldest daughter has a full-time job at Rolls Royce, engineering engines for NASA. Mrs. Guariello’s other daughter is a professional violinist, who has played in the New York City Opera. Her 22-year-old son is currently studying architecture and project management. She is very proud of all of her children.

Mrs. Guarriello also enjoys going to Penn State football games with her family. However, she can’t seem to remember just how many games she’s attended.

“I’ve been to…dozens and dozens [of Penn State University football games],” she said. “My parents were Penn Staters, my brother, his wife, my husband, my three kids, and my nieces… we bleed blue and white in my family.”

Mrs. Guarriello says she looks forward to her future as principal, and making the position her own. In the coming years, she hopes to see Southern Lehigh grow to become a more inclusive and accepting environment.

“The overarching thing, and I always told my three children, is that I strongly believe we should leave the world better than we found it. That’s what motivates me,” Mrs. Guarriello said. “I want to one day look back on Southern Lehigh knowing that I made a difference for even just one kid.”