You’ve never heard a story like Mitchell’s. I stumbled across it while eagerly scavenging for glimmers of leadership in America and what I found was a storm of human virtue. In
the strictest terms, without a touch of hyperbole, within Mitchell I was exposed to raw
Screen Shot 2016-12-04 at 11.38.51 AM.pngexamples of human resilience, bravery, wisdom and deep love. If you are interested in the question: “How is real change and success generated in the grimmest of circumstances?” I invite you to keep reading. This website will detail that process and provide information about how you can become a part of it.

Mitchell Elementary School, located in South West Philadelphia,

Crime in Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Inquirer

opened in 1918. Its students have always come from gritty backgrounds. Many can’t afford the basics necessary for students to be able learn (like breakfast, or notebooks). Over its 100 years, Mitchell Elementary has evolved into far more than a school: its staff has taken it upon themselves to provide the precious stability all require and which so many of their students can’t get at home.

Due to an unfortunate mess of conditions, South West Philadelphia is an oddly ignored bit of Philadelphia. Its population is among the poorest in the city, and its education funding is the lowest and always the first to be cut. For much of its past Mitchell, had been barely functional despite the continual and extreme dedication of its teaching staff.

In 2015 things took a dramatic turn for the better with the appointment of Principal Stephanie Andrewlevich (“Ms. A”). Ms. A has a genius for leadership and she knows exactly how to run a school. Her energy, creativity and resilience are inexhaustible. Once she has set her mind and heart to a project she will see it through. What she saw in Mitchell was not pretty: it was the ugly reality of unrealized potential. Most, after glimpsing the darker parts of bleak fate, screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-11-34-22-amwould have walked away.

Ms. A liked the challenge. She was struck by
the dedication of the staff (many of whom have been at Mitchell for years, expending their own money, time and emotional energy on the community they love) and knew she could do good at Mitchell. So she decided to stay and do what she has been trained to: fix it.

Since her appointment, Ms. A has rescued her school from hemorrhaging. Explore this website to familiarize yourself with what she has accomplished and find out how you can help her and the rest of the Mitchell Family.


Mitchell’s Mission:
*To develop motivated, and engaged students in interactive classrooms
*To keep levels of energy and passion
*To have supportive teachers with seamless classroom routines
*To have involved parents
*To have an involved community
*To prepare students to be life-long learners
*To prepare students to be able to succeed in the 21st century
*To prepare students to be responsible citizens

Below is the email Ms. A sent out to her staff, welcoming me into their home

We are honored to partner with Celeste, who will create our Mitchell website and support connections with the Penn community in support of Mitchell.  Please make her feel welcome as she integrates into our school community.
In her words…
“As a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, I am conducting an independent study focused on Mitchell Elementary. The independent study will culminate in the creation of a website that shares your story: the powerful reputation that Mitchell has developed in the Philly school district; what it is about Mitchell that makes the staff and administration so dedicated to their students; the headway you all have made in making Mitchell an impressive school and welcoming home. I noticed much of this as soon as I walked in the door and witnessed the firm tenderness with which the adults in the building treat the children. I am blessed to have been inspired by your story – I look forward to sharing it with the Penn community.”
Stephanie Andrewlevich, Principal
S. Weir Mitchell Elementary School
5500 Kingsessing Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19143
School: 215.727.2160
Fax: 215.727.2218“There are two gifts we should give our children.  One is roots.  The other is wings.”