Achievers Hall of Fame Inductees 2015
Arleen Bruno Black - Class of 1959
Arlene Bruno Black is a 1959 graduate of Springfield High School. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Elementary and Kindergarten Education from the Pennsylvania State University in 1963. Upon graduation from Penn State, Arleen began teaching second grade in the State College Area School District. Arleen returned to Springfield in 1970 and served as a substitute teacher at Central School and Scenic Hills Elementary School.
In 1974, after her obtaining her Professional Certificate in Early Education from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Arleen took over as teacher and Director of St. Matthew Christian Nursery School in Springfield. From its start as a relatively unknown entity, with one teacher, one classroom and 40 children, Arleen grew the school to its peak of nearly 200 children, 16 teachers and staff members, and three classrooms. In the course of her 29 years as Director, Arleen created a clear and strong educational focus and foundation, built a sound framework for children to easily transition to kindergarten, and provided our youngest and most impressionable learners with a warm, loving and supportive introduction to the unknown and somewhat unsettling concept of "school."
During her nearly 30 year tenure at St. Matt's, as it was fondly known, nearly 3,000 children from Springfield and surrounding communities passed through her doors on their way to kindergarten and the beginning of their formal educational journey.
Arleen and her husband Robert, also a 1959 SHS graduate and a biology professor emeritus at Penn State, have been married for 51 years and still live in Springfield. They have a son, Keith, who resides in Springfield with his wife, Rosemarie, and their children, Bret and Caroline, who are also all Springfield High School graduates.
Robert E. Fenza - Class of 1975
Robert E. Fenza is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LPT), and is responsible for the company’s operations. Mr. Fenza joined Liberty’s predecessor, Rouse & Associates in 1984. In 2000 he became Chief Operating Officer and helped propel Liberty’s growth to become one of America’s leading developers of Green High Performance buildings. Mr. Fenza oversees all operations for Liberty, and serves on the company’s Executive Committee, Investment Committee and chairs Liberty’s Development Committee.
Rob is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and is an active alumnus. He received a College of Arts and Architecture Alumni Award in 2002 and in 2004 was named a Penn State Alumni Fellow. In 2012, Rob was named Penn States Volunteer of the Year and in 2013 he was named to the Society of Distinguished Alumni, Penn State’s highest honor. He chaired the Campaign Volunteer Committee for the College of Arts and Architecture, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Advisory Council for Philanthropy.
Rob is active in his community and serves on several business and non-profit boards including FM Global Advisory Board, Natural Lands Trust Advisory Council, the Chester County Economic Development Council, the Charter High School for Architecture and Design, the Chester County Food Bank, and the Crozer Keystone Health System Board.
He and his wife Marcy have four children and reside in rural Chester County, Pennsylvania where they raise Texas Longhorn cattle on the lush grass of the Brandywine Valley.
Brittany Nicole Fox - Class of 2004
Brittany Fox is a PhD candidate in Sociology and Lazarsfeld Fellow at Columbia University. There, she researches and teaches on topics of social inequality and youth development. Brittany was raised in the Morton community and is a proud 2004 graduate of Springfield High School (SHS). During her time at SHS, she was a member of the Orchestra, the Yearbook Club, and the Model United Nations team. Brittany’s SHS peers voted her as Homecoming Queen in her senior year.
After graduating from Springfield, Brittany went on to pursue her undergraduate studies at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated as Valedictorian in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. While at Cheyney, she received a full scholarship as a member of the Keystone Honors Academy and served in a number of leadership positions. She was also afforded life-changing opportunities to study abroad in Ghana, West Africa and at the University of Cambridge in England.
After gaining experience in commercial banking and microfinance Brittany went on to earn a Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University in 2012. As an undergraduate and graduate student, Brittany received many scholarships, fellowships, and awards including: the Institute for International Public Policy Fellowship, Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, Education Pioneers Graduate Fellowship, Leopold Schepp Foundation Scholarship, and the Cheyney University Provost’s Award for Leadership.
Throughout her academic and professional career, Brittany has remained engaged with her community and has volunteered for a number of organizations including the Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia and Junior Achievement of Delaware Valley. She was also a founding board member of the Helen Still Foundation, a Morton-based education non-profit, and a member of the Morton Youth Aid Panel. While in her PhD program, Brittany remains committed to volunteerism as the Community Service Co-chair of Columbia University’s Graduate Students of Color Alliance—a role that entails organizing service projects in the neighboring Harlem community.
Brittany is affiliated with several professional and service-oriented organizations, including the American Sociological Association, Association of Black Sociologists, Society for the Study of Social Problems, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Barbara Greene - Springfield High School Teacher 1977-2000
Born in 1939, Orlando Florida, to parents Lawrence Cornell Parrish and Emma Handley Parrish, Barbara graduated from Jones High School as Valedictorian of the class of 1957.
She went on to attend Howard University and graduated in 1961 with a degree in Biology. She worked in research at Howard’s School of Dentistry, the last year of which she received a Master of Science Degree.
In the meantime, she married Howard J Coombs a native of Washington, D.C. who was a record producer and a promoter of vinyl recorded music to radio stations. That job led them to Chicago, Illinois, where Harry worked as a promoter for Ramsey Lewis. She accepted a job at Argonne National Laboratories in the bio-medical division. The eventually moved back to Washington, D.C. where she went to D.C. Teacher’s College and received her degree. She taught at Leckie Elementary School for three years. Harry then received a job offer from Gamble and Huff Enterprises in Philadelphia, PA. It was then that received her degree to teach at the high school level.
She felt fortunate to get a job at Springfield High School in 1977. She taught Science there until her retirement in 2000. She moved to Texas with her second husband, Thomas Greene who passed away in 2010. She has decided to remain in Texas where she is very comfortable with his family members.
Stan Johnson - Class of 1969
Stan is a Springfield lifer, one of the lucky few to be born, raised, married, raise his family and grow old in our town.
He graduated from Springfield High School in 1969, Lafayette College (BS in Electrical Engineering) in 1973, Widener University (Master in Business Administration) in 1977 and post graduate work at the Wharton School and the University of Michigan. He had a successful career at PECO Energy from 1973 to 2003, served as a consultant to the power industry from 2003 to 2010, and has been the Executive Director of Operations at Phoenixville Area School District since 2010.
However, his greatest passion, beside his family has been serving the community of Springfield, especially the school system. He served on the School Board for 28 years and held virtually every office on the Board, including being president for 5 years. He worked closely with four superintendents and many Board members to make the Springfield Schools the best they could be for the children, parents, staff and taxpayers of the community. He has also served the community by coaching in the Springfield Athletic Association and the St. Francis CYO. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Springfield Volunteer Memorial.
Stan is married to Caryl Conroy Johnson, another Springfield lifer. They have three children, all graduates of SHS and all achievers in their own way.
Joseph J. O'Brien, Ed.D. - Springfield School District Teacher; Coach; AssT Principal; Principal; Superintendent; Educational Leader 1973-2005
Joe came to Springfield School District (Delco) as a teacher at E. T. Richardson Middle School in 1973. Joe taught middle school English for thirteen years, was assistant principal at Springfield High School for three years, principal of Springfield High School for nine years, and then served as Superintendent for over six years. Joe also coached football, basketball, baseball, and dramatics during his years at Springfield School District. Joe served as Superintendent of Haddonfield School District for two years (2005 – 2007), and he is now entering his ninth year as the Executive Director of the Chester County Intermediate Unit in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Joe has over 40 total years working in public education. – with over thirty two years spent at Springfield School District.
Joe is a graduate of West Catholic Boys high school, Drexel University (B.S. in Education), West Chester University (M.Ed. in English Literature), Rowan University (Principal’s Certification) and Immaculata College (Ed.D. in Educational Leadership). He has published several articles on middle level learning, and he has given numerous presentations on various educational topics at many major educational conferences. He currently serves on 23 different community Boards – all of which are focused on improving our communities and our school districts.
Joe’s fondest memories of Springfield School District center on the times the communities of Springfield and Morton came together to protect the quality of our great Springfield School District, the beginning work on our wonderful Springfield High School Halls of Fame, and the fabulous students, teachers, support staff colleagues – and outstanding families he came to know in Morton and Springfield. In the end, our legacy must be the people we have helped and the families and staffs we have served.
Geraldine (Gerry) Phipps - Class of 1956
Upon graduation from Springfield High School, Geraldine M. Phipps attended the University of Pennsylvania where she received three degrees: a B.S. in Mathematics (1960); M.S. in European History (1961); and a Ph.D in Russian History (1971). In 1965 she received a Foreign Area Fellowship, and because the foundation mistakenly believed one could not be a Russian historian unless one studied at Harvard, she studied there for two terms. She then went to London for two years for her dissertation research on Anglo-Russian relations in the 17th century. This research is the basis for all of her scholarly work.
Ms. Phipps has written one book (Sir John Merrick, English Merchant-Diplomat in Seventeenth-Century Russia), and four articles and relevant book reviews in professional journals. She has also presented papers at regional, national, and international conferences. She was an Associate at the Harvard Russian Research Center (1975-2010). Ms. Phipps has often consulted with other scholars and institutions, one being the British Library. She now consults for the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, MA.
She states that the most important and most enjoyable part of her professional life was teaching. She was a teaching assistant at the University of Pennsylvania, was a full-time faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Oakland (1968-1970), Temple University (1970-1971), and finally at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth (1971-2004) where she developed a series of courses (12) including introductory, lecture, and honors courses.
As the only Russian historian in her area, she has often been asked to provide talks on the “Soviet Union Today” or “Russia Today” to high school classes, business groups, and church and women’s groups. She has frequently been interviewed by local TV and radio stations.
Florence D. Scioscia – Springfield School District Teacher 1963-1983
Florence Scioscia was born in Philadelphia in 1921 the daughter of Italian immigrants. She attended South Philadelphia Girls High School and graduated in 1937 at the age of 16. Florence was a graduate of Temple University in 1945 and taught first grade for 40 years. The last 20 years were spent teaching at Sabold Elementary School. She and her husband Fred raised three children and resided in Morton, Pennsylvania until her passing in November 1983.
During her tenure at Sabold she sponsored the annual spelling bee for the building. The spelling bee has been named the Florence D. Scioscia Spelling Bee in her honor and her family has provided an endowment to sponsor the awards provided to the students. Her son Mike commented that his mother “always wanted to teach and she felt a connection to it”. Florence was known as a caring and giving person respected by all who knew her.
Steve Stefani - Springfield High School Teacher 1970-2002
Steve Stefani was born in Philadelphia, and raised in Springfield, Delaware County. He was the youngest of 3 with two older brothers. His parents and older brothers were born in Albania, and came to this country a few years before Steve’s birth. Like other parents, they wanted to offer ‘a better way of life’ for their three young sons.
After graduating from Springfield High School and West Chester University, Steve chose a different path other than that of his two older brothers, and decided not to work in the family restaurant business. Steve filled out an application for a high school teacher. As he often joked, it was his first and only application. He got the job! Steve went on to teach his entire career at Springfield High School, which is exactly where he wanted to be.
In his late 20’s Steve became a Deacon at the church his family helped build, Saint John’s Chrysostom in Philadelphia. The annual Albanian convention was a highlight in Steve’s life. He looked forward to seeing friends and family from across the county over a weekend of eating and dancing to traditional Albanian music. He attended services weekly in his position as an ordained deacon.
He was very proud of his position he held as a teacher. He made a difference for those students who came into his life. He was never married, but he did consider his work his family. The colleagues that he made over the years were those closest to him. 'Steve was also a very devoted son. His mom lived with him in Springfield and most days he would go home at lunchtime to take care of her until her death.'
In his 40’s Steve bought a summer house at the shore in Brigantine, NJ. Summer was Steve’s favorite time of the year, and Brigantine was the place where family was able to come together. He always enjoyed days on the beach, followed by a ride to Ocean City to see friends. Steve’s house, whether in Springfield or Brigantine always had an open door with friends and family stopping by.
Steve courageously fought his battle with cancer, and remained strong in his devotion to his faith. His life was inspirational to many which was so evident in the outpouring of support during his illness. The tradition of the Steve Stefani Dance Marathon has resonated throughout the community, and has made an impact on so many lives just as his life has.