Mr. McConnell Joins SLHS Administrative Team


Mrs. Marlo Spritzer

Mr. McConnell is the newest addition to the Southern Lehigh Faculty

Over the summer, Southern Lehigh School District saw many changes in staffing, including a number of administrative positions. Filling the vacancy of Ms. Jennifer Brinson, who resigned in July to pursue a role in another district, Mr. Benjamin McConnell joined the high school administration in October as the Spartans’ newest assistant principal. 

Mr. McConnell said his administrative philosophy focuses on restorative education practices and involvement in student assistance programs. While his role is to assist high school principal Mrs. Beth Guarriello, his ambitions transcend paperwork and discipline. His focus on mental health, especially in the duration of the pandemic, makes him an approachable resource for students, and he hopes to help get students “back into the groove” of in-person learning. 

“[A vice principal has] a lot of responsibilities, and sometimes it’s hard to get the student interaction you want,” Mr. McConnell said. “I’m hoping with this role I’ll be as effective in the student body, as I am in my [other] work.” 

Mr. McConnell looks forward to taking an active role at Southern Lehigh and says that he is not looking to fix anything at the school, instead asking himself how he can contribute to current initiatives to improve the school. He is already impressed by students’ positive attitudes and unity.

“My first week here, the [homeroom] bell sounded and all of the students in the hallway just simply stopped, put their hand over their heart, did the pledge, and kept on with their day.” Mr. McConnell said.

Mr. McConnell earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Rider University, and a master’s degree from Wilkes University. Prior to coming to Southern Lehigh, he worked as an assistant principal at Raub Middle School in Allentown. 

“I was a little nervous [starting here], but not as much as I thought I’d be,” Mr. McConnell said. “I got to meet and communicate with Mrs. Guarriello, and Mr. Kinslow a lot [beforehand, which helped this] be a positive experience.”

Outside of college, Mr. McConnell spent his entire life in the Allentown School District which he attended as a student, and returned to become a social studies teacher, primarily in the subject of economics, before becoming an administrator. After a lifetime in the Allentown community, the decision to accept the assistant principal role at Southern Lehigh was one that required a lot of thought.

“My biggest concern, and one of the hardest things for me in leaving Allentown was, ‘will I be able to do this somewhere else?’” Mr. McConnell said. “But I’m not worried about that anymore. I know this is a good fit for me.” 

At home, Mr. McConnell is the father of four children: two sons and two daughters, ranging from a high school freshman to a fourth grader. When he is not working, he enjoys playing guitar and reading biographies and thrillers.