Dr. Mary Scott leaves lasting impressions on NP family 


She often wore her sunglasses up on her head, and referred to them as her Philly hair band. She was the first one to hit that heart button on one of your Facebook posts. She certainly never hesitated to be honest with you. But she also made it very clear she knew where you were coming from, and she had your back whenever you needed someone there. Dr. Mary Scott, 48, a Biology teacher, class adviser, assistant principal, and one of the most genuine people a person could ever hope to know in life, passed away this week after a brief illness. 

Born and raised in Philadelphia and then a graduate of LaSalle University, Scott was accepted into medical school, but knew her heart was always in teaching from the time she was playing school in her basement at the age of six. So, rather than pursue medicine, Scott’s career in education began at North Catholic High School in 1996 where she cut her teeth as a teacher who was immediately much more than just a person in front of the classroom. She was involved at North Catholic with everything from Student Council to National Honor Society and class advising. But in 2005, when Scott arrived in Lansdale and found her way to C-Pod as a biology teacher, she was beginning a 15 year journey that would  leave an indelible impression on the thousands of students and staff with whom she worked at North Penn High School. 

“Mary was one of the kindest and most generous people I’ve known. When I was an assistant principal here and my family got a new dog, Mary showed up with a personalized placemat and dog dishes for Wilma,” North Penn High School principal Mr. Pete Nicholson reflected. “When we would have an event of any type here, Mary would take pictures and would regularly show up at 7:00 the next morning with the picture printed and framed. I never knew how she got that done between 10:00 at night and 7:00 in the morning. I have more framed pictures from her in my office than I do from my own family.”

On March 20, 2013, after eight years as a Biology teacher, Scott tried a new venture when she took over as an assistant principal in E112. While at the time she was unsure whether or not the move out of the classroom would be right for her, the rest is history, and in the near decade that followed, Scott became what many people have referred to as a real “teacher’s principal,” one who deeply understood what teachers were dealing with in the classroom each day. Scott’s value in making personal connections took on new forms as a home office principal, as she found herself handling a very different type of job, but nevertheless still forging those personal relationships with students and staff, relationships she always saw as central to the world of education. 

That’s just who Mary was. She cared more about and for others than anyone I’ve ever known

— Mr. Pete Nicholson - NPHS Principal

“When I was named principal, she was one of my biggest supporters during the interview process and showed up, almost on my first day, with a name plate for my desk that had my name and “Principal” on it. I’m not sure if she had insider information or had just ordered it ahead of time hoping it wouldn’t be a waste! That’s just who Mary was. She cared more about and for others than anyone I’ve ever known,” Nicholson remembered. 

As an administrator, Scott certainly had a different set of responsibilities and worked with many different students in roles ranging from guidance to discipline and anything in between. But the impact she had on students in the classroom more than anything reveals the ripple effect of good teaching and its impacts on the world. 

Inspiring Future Medical Leaders: Mary Scott joins in on a google meet with former student Todd Smolinsky (2010) who credit Scott the most for his career as a medical doctor.

“One such student I know Mary inspired was Dr. Todd Smolinsky, a 2010 graduate of North Penn.  In a conversation I had with him in October, he attributed everything he has been given in his career as a medical doctor to his AP Biology classroom experience.  I was lucky enough to be present when he thanked her for her mentoring and explained the impact she has had on his life. It was a pivotal moment in my teaching career to witness this exchange and see how emotional Mary got when she was surprised by her former student,” explained North Penn HS Science teacher Mr. Brian Christopher.  

It is success stories like that of Smolinsky that perhaps more than anything define what Mary Scott meant to the world of education.

In a 2013 Knight Crier interview, Scott reflected on what mattered to her most as a classroom teacher, particularly at North Penn:  

“I think it’s the interactions with the students that I cherish the most, getting to know them from an academic level, then a personal level getting to see that proverbial light bulb go off.  What’s nice about teaching AP Bio, with loving the sciences as much as I do and feeding off the motivation of students who generally take AP courses, I’m effectively teaching the future researchers, and doctors and nurses and so on and it’s really exciting to be a part of knowing that 10-15 years from now one of my kids can cure cancer. Part of that passion comes from in addition to class advising, I am also an advisor for the Future Health Occupations club and that was actually started in my time here so that’s kind of cool. Part of the reason it’s such a good deal here is because we have such a supporting department and overall the kids are just great, it’s easy to feed off their enthusiasm. It’s a nice supportive environment and bottom line everybody in this building is doing it for the kids and that’s nice to be around,” said Scott.

Services will be held this Friday, May 21st at Saint Stan’s in Lansdale. The viewing will be from 12:00-3:00 with Mass taking place at 3:00. It is requested that those who attend wear purple in true Mary fashion.  Obituary for Dr. Mary Scott