District names new principal for Quakertown Community High School

Beginning July 1, Quakertown Community High School will have a new principal.

The Quakertown Community School Board vot­ed 9–0 Thursday night in sup­port of the administration’s rec­om­men­da­tion to name Mattias van’t Hoenderdaal to the posi­tion pre­vi­ous­ly held by Dr. David Finnerty.

Mr. van’t Hoenderdaal, 35, is cur­rent­ly prin­ci­pal of School Lane Charter School’s International Baccalaureate Campus. Located in Bensalem, Bucks County, the IB Campus edu­cates approx­i­mate­ly 500 stu­dents in grades 7–12.

I’m very excit­ed and hon­ored,” said Mr. van’t Hoenderdaal, who couldn’t attend the June 13 Board meet­ing because of School Lane’s grad­u­a­tion. “I’m eager to get start­ed and get to know the com­mu­ni­ty. For me, it’s about mak­ing an impact in the lives of students.”

Assistant Superintendent Nancianne Edwards, who super­vis­es the district’s prin­ci­pals, said Mr. van’t Hoenderdaal devel­oped School Lane’s IB pro­gram from scratch and has “a very detailed entry plan” ready for when he starts at QCHS.

She said the dis­trict held sev­er­al rounds of prin­ci­pal inter­views, and stu­dent, teacher and admin­is­tra­tor rep­re­sen­ta­tives were part of the process. “They were unan­i­mous in mov­ing for­ward (with Mr. van’t Hoenderdaal),” Ms. Edwards said. Last week he was inter­viewed by Board members.

Mr. van’t Hoenderdaal has been School Lane’s high school prin­ci­pal since 2014. Additionally, he has men­tored grad­u­ate stu­dents from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to School Lane, he was the IB coor­di­na­tor at Northeast High School in Philadelphia, where he pre­vi­ous­ly taught high school mathematics. 

He has a mas­ters degree in school lead­er­ship from Penn, and a mas­ters in sec­ondary edu­ca­tion (math­e­mat­ics) from Holy Family University. His bachelor’s degree, from Cairn University, is in pas­toral ministries/biblical studies.

When he moved to the United States from The Netherlands in 2005, and attend­ed Cairn, Mr. van’t Hoenderdaal’s plan was to become a pas­tor. However, he found him­self too young to be coun­sel­ing peo­ple three and four times his age. He turned to teach­ing, he said, as it is in align­ment with coun­sel­ing. “I’m mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the lives of oth­ers,” he said.

At School Lane, “I’ve learned a lot and now seems like a good time to take the next step,” he said.

That next step includes a dis­trict he thinks high­ly of. “Quakertown has an excel­lent rep­u­ta­tion for aca­d­e­mics, the arts, ath­let­ics and edu­cat­ing the whole child,” he said. “The steps being tak­en by the admin­is­tra­tion on social and emo­tion­al learn­ing are very intriguing.” 

Mr. van’t Hoenderdaal and his wife Maggie have three chil­dren: Margot 10, Eli 8 and Weston 2. Mrs. van’t Hoenderdaal is a kinder­garten teacher at Glenside Elementary School in the Cheltenham School District.

In March, Dr. Finnerty accept­ed the Assistant Superintendent posi­tion in the Twin Valley School District.