Meet Our Superintendent
Dr. Daniel P. McGarry has been in education for over 20 years, serving as a teacher, an Assistant Principal, Principal, Assistant Superintendent and in his current role as Superintendent of Schools. Dr. McGarry is an alumnus of Upper Darby School District (class of 1996) and has committed his professional life to serving the students and families of the city he grew up in and loves.
Dr. McGarry earned his undergraduate degree in English and Secondary Education with a minor in History from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, North Carolina his Masters in Educational Leadership and Supervisory of Curriculum and Instruction from St. Joseph’s University, and his doctorate of Education from Neumann University. He completed the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators Superintendents’ Academy in 2015.
Dr. McGarry is committed to providing quality educational experiences for all students. His leadership focus is on ethical decision-making, team-building, equity and providing opportunities for all students. He believes that the work of educating and supporting our students demands a comprehensive approach.
He has developed many partnerships in education. He has collaborated with Dr. Angela Duckworth and the University of Pennsylvania, “... on perseverance and Grit among 12th grade students, and she and other researchers would take the district’s middle school staff through a series of professional development workshops based on a model called PERMA-Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and purpose, and Accomplishments” (Perkins-Gough, 2013). He has also developed a partnership with Dr. Eran Magen of The Center for Supportive Relationships to foster more meaningful sustainable relationships between teachers and students through positive, timely praise and feedback. He has participated in NOVA’s (PBS) School of the Future documentary/movie, How can the science of learning help us rethink the future of education for all children? (September, 2016). Dr. McGarry worked with Dr. Angela Duckworth for this documentary and introduced Grit into classroom instruction. Dr. McGarry also participated in the development of School Play: It’s a tough subject (April, 2015), a collaboration with Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) in which he openly discussed the stress and difficulty of balancing a budget, cutting programs, and fair funding of public schools in Pennsylvania.
Dr. McGarry has presented at several education conferences. He provided opening remarks at the 2012 National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) National Convention in Philadelphia, PA. He also presented at the 2011 NASP/George Washington University Public Policy Institute on Learning and Social-Emotional Supports for Vulnerable Students: Directions for the Nation, at the 2011 NRCP & FC Supporting Successful Experiences for Students in Foster Care through Collaboration conference in Washington, DC, and on the 2011 NASP Podcast on Supporting Struggling Students.
Dr. McGarry’s career path has provided him with the opportunity to experience the full educational process from elementary school through central administration. He has served as a High School English Teacher, Assistant Principal at Drexel Hill Middle School, Principal at Bywood Elementary School, and as an Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. He is driven by his District's tagline of Opportunity, Unity, and Excellence.