Robert K. Shafer Middle School welcomes Bensalem native Michael Stock as its new principal
By Samantha Bambino
Who better to sculpt the young minds of Bensalem Township than someone who was born and raised there? This academic year, Robert K. Shafer Middle School welcomed as its new principal Michael Stock, who held the title of assistant principal for two years at Bensalem High School. Though this is Stock’s first time educating at the middle school level, his mission remains the same after 27 years in the field — to equip students with the tools needed to not only excel at school, but also life.
While exploring his interests growing up, Stock always knew he was cut out for education, though his dream has slightly changed over the years. Going into college, his goal was to become both a teacher and basketball coach, a combination of his two passions.
“If you told me I’d spend 20-plus years in that role, it would have been a fulfilled life,” he said of his younger self.
With his dream career envisioned, Stock earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in secondary education/social studies and a master’s of arts in elementary and special education from La Salle University. He also received a certification in educational leadership K-12 from Gwynedd Mercy College.
For five years, Stock was with the Brandywine School District in Wilmington, Delaware, as a social studies teacher. The next 19 years were spent with the Bristol Township School District at Truman High School as a special education teacher for eight, social studies teacher for seven and the school’s athletic director for the final four, during which he led its teams to the most wins in school history.
Once Stock started to have kids of his own, despite his years of teaching, he found himself intrigued by the administrative end of the educational system. He decided to follow his heart, and hasn’t looked back.
Two years ago, the opportunity of assistant principal opened at Bensalem High School, and he immediately took advantage of it. Though Stock and his family now reside in Richboro, Bensalem will always hold a special place as his first home, so he was excited to get back to his roots.
Stock continued to educate at the high school level for two academic years until yet another opportunity presented itself this past April. At a monthly meeting, the Bensalem Township Board of School Directors approved the appointment of Stock as principal of Robert K. Shafer Middle School to replace William J. Incollingo, who was named director of IT/district-wide communications.
After 27 years in the field, this is Stock’s first dive into education at the middle school level. Though it’s only been a few weeks, he said the new role is going great so far with new challenges and opportunities.
“The kids are at that in-between age where they’re trying to figure things out academically, socially and emotionally,” Stock said.
When thinking about the year ahead and what he hopes to accomplish, his goal is simple — to help the students navigate through these years. For Stock, it’s all about helping them discover what they’re passionate about and providing them with the tools needed to fulfill future dreams. His high schoolers may have been a little bigger and older with a few more distractions, but no matter the educational level, he strives to build a supportive relationship with each student.
“When kids have a positive relationship with the teachers and administration, they’re more inclined to make the right choices,” he said.
Along with a dedicated staff, who he said welcomed him with open arms, Stock plans to continue to uphold the mission and values of the Bensalem School District. While he does need to worry about standardized test scores, something all schools are critiqued on, his primary focus will be educating the “whole” child, which goes beyond the classroom.
“The goal is to help these students figure it out so that they’re prepared for high school and ready for the next level,” he said. “I am looking forward to beginning this new chapter of my career at the middle school level. Twenty-six years at the high school level has given me a vast amount of experience that I can utilize and share with our middle school students to prepare them for what lies ahead.” ••
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com