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Dr. Diane Holben leaving NP for new journey at ESU

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After eight years of service to the North Penn School District as the Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Diane Holben will be leaving the district as she pursues her new journey as a professor at East Stroudsburg University.

Holben’s journey to a role in education did not begin until she was already in college at Muhlenberg University.

“I started pre-med, and about two years into college I realized that I was doing well in my classes, but I didn’t feel strongly about going to medical school. I was always interested in teaching. I was one of those girls who would get their dolls out as a kid and play the teacher,” reflected Holben, “I decided that my calling was really in education, not medicine, so I switched my major to Biology and Latin in the education program.”

At first, some people might not link the scientific experiment process to anything other than a science experiment, but Holben now uses her science based skills on a daily basis.

“I like the scientific inquiry process. That has been a big help because in all three of the positions I have had in three different districts, they have all involved using data, analyzing data, and using the scientific inquiry process,” explained Holben.

After graduating college, Holben began teaching at Saucon Valley High School where she taught Latin and Science classes.

“I worked for and with some people who saw some leadership potential in me, and they encouraged me to get my Masters, principal certification, and curriculum supervisor certification,” said Holben.

It was at Saucon Valley that Holben began to shift from a teaching role to a more administrative role.

“I think in a lot of administrative roles, you don’t have as much direct contact with students, so that is definitely different. You do get sort of removed from the daily school environment, and you do miss that, but you have to ability to really support in a different way,” noted Holben.

For Holben, supporting in a different way means being a servant leader.

“Once a teacher, always a teacher. I still conceptualize my role as a teaching and supportive role where I’m here to help other people do their job well so that the kids benefit. You don’t become an administrator to be the boss and tell other people what to do. There is a theory of leadership called servant leadership and that is really the mindset I try to follow. It’s about what I can do to support other people, not about me telling people what to do all the time,” explained Holben.

I still conceptualize my role as a teaching and supportive role where I’m here to help other people do their job well so that the kids benefit. You don’t become an administrator to be the boss and tell other people what to do”

— Dr. Diane Holben

After twelve years teaching at Saucon Valley, Holben moved to the Allentown School District Central Office for a brand new position where she managed data analysis and assessments. Seven years later, Holben made her way to the North Penn School District.

“I had been in the Allentown School District for seven years at the Central Office position, and I really enjoyed it. It was kind of a natural transition time though, because the superintendent was retiring and things started shifting. I saw North Penn as an opportunity, so I applied for the job and was fortunate enough to have been chosen,” explained Holben.

It was in the year 2010 that Holben began her career at North Penn as the Assistant Superintendent. Moving to her third school district, Holben found that her previous work made the transition to North Penn smoother.

“It’s a blend of my first two districts. Saucon Valley is a very suburban district, but it is very small. Allentown is a very urban district, but it is very large. North Penn has some characteristics of both, so I have been able to draw from both of my previous experiences,” she mentioned.

While Holben has been at North Penn, she has seen the North Penn community as a big factor in the successes of the district.

“The community is so supportive of the educational program, and you can’t run a successful program if you don’t have community support. We have outstanding staff great teachers who really want to see kids do their best. That is such a huge plus. People here are not afraid to think outside of the box, they are not afraid to push the envelope,” said Holben.

In addition to a supportive community, the diversity of North Penn is also something Holben sees as valuable to the district.

The world is changing, and at North Penn, kids learn at a very young age that everyone isn’t the same, and that’s okay”

— Dr. Diane Holben

“Our diversity is such a strength. When everybody brings their experiences to the table, it always leads to a richer conversation. The world is changing, and at North Penn, kids learn at a very young age that everyone isn’t the same, and that’s okay. It is a really valuable perspective to gain so that when kids get out of high school, it isn’t something new,” explained Holben.

Holben will be leaving North Penn to pursue teaching higher education at East Stroudsburg University this fall.

“I’ve always had an interest in high education and doing research. This is my thirtieth year in education, and I do want to spend more time with my family. I applied to the position at East Stroudsburg, and I was very fortunate to be chosen as an Assistant Professor in the Professional Secondary Education Department,” said Holben.

“I hope I’m remembered as someone who always put the kids first and supported them. I’ve really appreciated my opportunity to work here. It is a great district and it has so much potential. I really look forward to seeing how the district continues to progress. I think North Penn is a leader in so many areas. I think schools look to North Penn to see what good education looks like,” said Holben.

 

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Dr. Diane Holben leaving NP for new journey at ESU