Cinnaminson High School principal relieved that construction is done

Principal Darlene Llewellyn praised her staff for surviving the difficult renovations

Late last month, Cinnaminson High School held the highly-anticipated District Capital Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony in front of the high school gymnasium. Families and community members came to see the reveal and tour the entirely renovated high school. The project took more than 18 months to complete.

In addition to new LED lighting and air conditioning, a new hallway and a new front office, the school also added three science labs and a STEM lab. Cinnaminson High School Principal Darlene Llewellyn says the science labs were an important part of the renovation since the science teachers needed to be moved into a better location with the proper equipment.

“Today, it was 20 degrees outside and nobody complained that they were cold for the first time in two years,” Llewellyn said on finally having a good heating unit in the school. “It was wonderful.”

Cinnaminson High School is more than half a century old, and this is the first time a major renovation was done.

“We needed nuts and bolts. The boiler was 50 years old,” Llewellyn said.

Llewellyn added her biggest accomplishment in seven years as principal has been surviving the renovations and keeping her staff sane during them.

“Our test scores remained really high throughout this entire project,” Llewellyn said, adding more Cinnaminson students are taking AP exams this year than in recent years.

Llewellyn also praised her staff and students for their cooperation during the difficult renovation period.

Llewellyn’s goal for the rest of the school year is getting the high school back to a state of normalcy — something it hasn’t experienced in a long time.

Llewellyn has been with the district for more than 20 years. After earning her bachelor’s degree in secondary mathematics education from Temple University, she immediately began teaching at Cinnaminson High School. She also served as the varsity girls soccer coach and the junior varsity girls lacrosse coach in addition to being the treasurer of the Cinnaminson Education Association. In 2002, Llewellyn was named Cinnaminson High School’s Teacher of the Year.

While Llewellyn enjoys her job as principal and says she is in it for the long run, she often misses teaching and coaching and the bond she was able to form with students.

“As a principal, you walk the halls, you see them in their concerts and on the field, but you don’t have the same connection with them as a teacher or a coach,” Llewellyn said.

After Llewellyn completed her master’s degree from Saint Joseph’s University, she was appointed as assistant principal at Cinnaminson High School. While serving as assistant principal, Llewellyn also was chairman of the Cinnaminson High School Middle States Steering Committee and a member of the District Professional Development Committee.

After serving as assistant principal for seven years, Llewellyn was appointed as interim principal, and shortly thereafter was appointed principal of Cinnaminson High School.

When Llewellyn isn’t with her school family, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Through her children, she gets to do one thing she really loves — coaching. She coached her daughter’s softball team for a while and still helps out with coaching her son’s baseball team. Llewellyn said one of the great things about working in education is being able to spend holiday breaks with her family.

Llewellyn says after experiencing the disciplinary side of administration as the assistant principal for many years before being appointed principal, she values being able to experience the more upbeat and positive side of things.

“When they’re giving it their best and they’re giving it their all, they’re out there making us proud,” Llewellyn said. “They’re always trying to do the best for the school. That’s the part that I really get to enjoy — supporting them doing what they love to do.”