On July 1, 2021, Dr. Stropkaj began his tenth year as the Superintendent of the Keystone Oaks School District. Since joining the District, he has overseen the creation of two strategic plans, including the most recent plan. While the most recent plan began on July 1, 2020, it was a slow start to implementation due to the Covid-19 pandemic; thus, the current strategic plan has been extended through June 20, 2027.
Since 2012, Dr. Stropkaj has overseen the implementation of new curriculum in the following areas: K-12 English/Language Arts; K-8 Mathematics; Algebra I; Geometry; Algebra II; K-8 Science; 3-8 Social Studies; High School Biology, and the addition of several new courses including twelve Advance Placement Courses, of which the most recent were in French, Spanish, and the computer sciences.
In addition, Dr. Stropkaj oversaw the implementation of Full-day Kindergarten, the Elementary STEAM program, the instrumental strings program, and the implementation of intervention blocks in the elementary schools.
Dr. Stropkaj has expanded the capacity of the administrative team by hiring a Director of Finances and Human Resources; Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, and Staff Development, Director of Special Education; Director of Pupil Services; Director of Technology; Director of Buildings, Grounds, and Transportation; Director of Food Services; and Coordinator of Communications and Public Relations. Dr. Stropkaj created the in-house food service department and expanded the District’s technology department to include a systems administrator, two technology integration specialists, and a computer support specialist.
Under Dr. Stropkaj’s leadership, the District has also increased the number of school counselors, mental health therapists, and nurses to provide support to the students. These positions are vital to Dr. Stropkaj’s passion for providing the necessary supports to address the social and emotional needs of every student in the District.
The focus of the current strategic plan is on the District’s greatest asset, the students. The goal for the next six years is to transform the District by providing an education to every student that is personalized, competency-based, and provides opportunities for students to grow through real experiences that will allow every student to be a well-balanced person; a self-directed, life-long learner; a caring, compassionate person; a civic-minded person; a responsible global citizen; a quality producer and resource manager; and a culturally aware person.
Dr. Stropkaj’s focus is on transforming the educational environment throughout the District from one of an Industrial-Age by moving the learning and the teaching from the routine, standardized methods to a shift towards a whole-child approach, recognizing the uniqueness of each student. This requires the creation of a supportive and adaptive learning environment that values the social and emotional growth of each student along with each student’s academic growth.
Dr. Stropkaj’s passion for transforming education in the Keystone Oaks School District has been recognized by the American Association of School Administrators, the national association of school Superintendents, which has accepted the District as a member of the AASA Learning 2025 Alliance. Locally, the Grable Foundation has brought together a number of school districts in Western Pennsylvania who have the vision to become more student-centered, equity-focused, and future driven. The District is stretching toward system redesign to benefit all students’ growth. The District is committed to supporting the whole learner, ensuring anti-marginalization, and adopting future driven practices. One of the main goals of this Alliance is to focus on early learning, technology-enhanced learning, and students as co-authors of their learning.
This movement could not have been realized without the countless hours of research, deliberation, and discourse with administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community members; there is much more work for all to do. The Teacher Leadership Academy, which was created by Dr. Stropkaj and comprised of teacher leaders throughout the District, K-12, was instrumental in the development of the philosophical aspects of teaching and learning which are found in the strategic plan. Our focus now is on empowering students, teachers, and administrators to construct meaning from experiences, to generate and pursue personal goals, to create a mindset of thinking about thinking, and to engage in social interactions that require diverse means of communication with each other. Our mission is to have excellence in engaging, empowering, and enriching today for tomorrow’s expectations.