About Southern Elementary
Southern Elementary School is a state-of-the-art facility that opened in August of 2001. We serve approximately 900 students in Kindergarten through fifth grade. Our school is located outside of three of New Castle County’s oldest cities, New Castle, St. Georges and Delaware City. Our students feed from the New Castle, Bear, Delaware City, St. Georges, and Middletown neighborhoods.
Southern Elementary School’s excellent and dedicated staff provides a developmentally appropriate education for each of its students. Our focus is on improving the academic achievement of all students while nurturing their social and emotional development. The academic program at Southern Elementary School provides students with a solid foundation in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The staff has had extensive training in new methods and strategies that support the district’s curricula and the state’s performance standards. They are a group of advanced degrees. Combining all of the ongoing training, schooling and experience, this staff brings the best instructional methods and strategies to our students. The Colonial School District community has outlined its vision for our schools: Students shall be empowered to meet the choices and challenges of the 21st century. At Southern Elementary, we will fulfill this mission by focusing on the development of a strong foundation of skills and attitudes that will give our children the start they need for future learning in school and lifelong learning as they take their places in broad and diverse communities.
About the Staff
Richard Bryson, Jr.
When Richard Bryson, Jr. graduated from William Penn in 1998 he knew he wanted to return to the district to teach, but had no idea that 19 years later he would be named principal of Southern Elementary School. Bryson’s mother graduated from William Penn, while his grandparents graduated from the original William Penn, which is now New Castle Elementary School, and his sister currently teaches at Leach. His father was also a longtime employee who retired as a operations and maintenance specialist. “We are pretty loyal to the district and we have strong roots,” Bryson says. Those roots drew Bryson back to the district but he credits his 7th-grade teacher with inspiring him to become a teacher. “She pushed me to be successful…I struggled in school, it was not easy for me but she’s the one who got me moving so I want to be able to do the same thing. I want to continue to serve the community that I grew up in.” Bryson wants parents to know he’ll support their children in all aspects of their lives and will give students and parents a voice at Southern. “I’m a big believer in an open door policy and I want parents to have the ability to communicate with me,” he says.
Student Advisor Joe Gleason IV is happy to be a new Southern Shark. Formerly a 5th-grade teacher at New Castle Elementary and a middle school teacher with Colonial’s Virtual Program, Gleason looks forward to reminding students that every day is a new day. “Each new day can be an opportunity to build on the successes of the day before, or a chance for a fresh start. Whatever it is that students need, we at Southern will be ready to meet them where they are,” Gleason says. Nothing brings Gleason more joy than seeing current and former students in the community having a positive impact, and he hopes his interactions with them helped to fuel that energy. He also enjoys interactions with families, and wants them to know he is intentional about serving them. “I look forward to forming strong partnerships with the families that support our students. Home-to-school partnerships are a critical foundation of any successful school. It takes a village!” Gleason’s parents were both educators so he grew up being inspired to contribute to the educational journey of students. As for going from the classroom to his administrative position at Southern he says, “Colonial School District is a great place to work for many reasons, but its leadership pipeline is one of the unsung anchors of The Power of WE that I appreciate the most. No district does a better job of reinvesting in the human capital of its employees, regardless of position. I am a proud product of the Power of WE. I have spent my entire career in Colonial, from student teaching to this new chapter. I am so excited to get to know the students, parents, and staff members at Southern. Go Sharks!”