Daniel Beck, Upper St. Clair High School assistant principal, has been named the 2020 Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils Principal of the Year.
The announcement was made during the organization’s virtual state conference, Oct. 29-30.
According to Jamison Stout, a 2020 Upper St. Clair High School graduate and 2019-20 student council president, Beck has proved himself worthy of the honor of PASC Principal of the Year through his constant guidance and passion for helping students.
“Having an ally like Dr. Beck in our administration has empowered Upper St. Clair’s student leaders by amplifying our voices and recognizing the power of youth leadership,” Jami wrote in her nomination letter. “With a forward-thinking attitude and eagerness for change, Dr. Beck encourages our council to constantly push the climate of our school in the right direction without fear.”
Completing his doctoral dissertation on student voice last year, Beck is passionate about empowering students to be the best versions of themselves.
“Dr. Beck is a truly unique leader who has utilized the research regarding student voice, leadership and empowerment to mold his daily work with high school students, faculty and staff,” Sharon Suritsky, deputy/assistant superintendent, said. “He has established a student-centered culture, which permeates every facet of the school and spans all grade levels, academic abilities and social/emotional development.”
Brooke Tarcson, activities coordinator, serves as student council adviser, working alongside Beck on several projects and initiatives.
“He leads with a sincere passion for student council’s development, both individually as student leaders and collectively as a representative body,” Tarcson said. “Dr. Beck challenges our students, in and outside of our council, beyond their comfort zones to grow not only as students and leaders, but above all, as people.”
Beck credits being recognized as Principal of the Year as the result of being part of a successful team. In his acceptance, he offered Pennsylvania student council members three pieces of advice.
“First, get involved, but when you’re doing it be the mindful listener, withhold judgment, it will open doors you would never expect. Second, know your people and trust them. Get feedback and provide feedback. But learn and embrace the job together,” he said. “Lastly, know yourself and thank the people who helped you in the development of that identity.”
In addition to his work as an assistant principal, Beck serves as a leader within a variety of local and statewide groups, which focus on student membership and engagement. He has served on the board of directors for the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils since July 2019 and the Pennsylvania Principals Association since July 2018.
Within Upper St. Clair, Beck serves as the district representative on the Youth Steering Committee and is the administrative liaison for the school’s student assistance program, mentoring program and U-THON.
Beck joined the Upper St. Clair High School leadership staff in 2013. Previously, he taught secondary English in Greensburg Salem School District and Berlin Brothers Valley School District. He earned his doctorate and undergraduate degrees from Duquesne University and a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
A resident of Upper St. Clair, Beck and his wife, Kelly, have two young children, Carter and Lyla.
In addition to Beck’s recognition, Upper St. Clair High School Student Council will be honored as one of only 11 Pennsylvania schools to earn a Distinguished Keystone Council Award from PASC and the National Council of Excellence Award from the National Student Council. Both awards recognize student councils that operate at an extremely high level including in the areas of governance, service, activities and operations, and civic engagement and student voice.
In the summer, Tarcson was named PASC’s Region B High School Advisor of the Year. In addition to student council adviser, she serves as the school’s activities coordinator, overseeing many of the school’s special events including senior prom, graduation, awards night and U-THON.
The mission of PASC is to engage and recognize student leaders and advisors in leadership training, networking, community service, school improvement, personal development opportunities and civic engagement in the 21st century. PASC is divided into 10 geographical regions. Region B represents Allegheny, Washington and Greene counties.