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Faces of CIS: Phil Parise

Meet Phil Parise, Program Manager for Communities In Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania. From planning overarching strategies to implementing those ideas within schools, Phil has had an incredible impact on our outreach efforts in the Lehigh Valley over the last four years.

Phil earned his bachelor’s in elementary education from Kutztown University and spent a few years teaching. As an educator, he experienced various school systems and learned the struggles students encounter every day. Witnessing their challenges opened his eyes to needs that schools struggle to support on their own.

While providing students opportunities in the classroom is a significant first step, Phil believes that support should be well-rounded and holistic. He changed career paths to the social service side of education and worked for four years with the Crime Victims Council of the Lehigh Valley. For several years, Phil focused on community outreach efforts and prevention education at various schools and local colleges.

When Phil learned about Communities In Schools of Eastern PA, he realized he could perform similar work as with the Crime Victims Council but directly within the school. He joined the team as Community School Coordinator for Allentown School District’s Cleveland Elementary in 2017 and was promoted to Community School Network Director in 2019.

As network director, Phil represented Communities In Schools of Eastern PA and collaborated with United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s Community School network so partners could work together. He was able to focus on the strategic planning process behind the scenes and guide Community School work.

In October 2020, Phil was promoted to program manager and now actively works in the community to introduce and execute new initiatives. While he primarily works with Community Schools, he also works within other Communities In Schools of Eastern PA school systems. Phil assists community school staff in enforcing overall strategies.

“There are often a lot of grey areas in the work we do, and my goal is to provide the school district and our staff the guidance and perspective they need for a successful student support structure,” reflected Phil. “With specific guardrails, our staff feel empowered and better prepared to do their job.”

When looking back on his time with Communities In Schools of Eastern PA, Phil is most proud of bringing community school coordinators together and working collectively to build a system in northside Bethlehem. What’s now known as the #NorthsideNetwork, he built a system for community school coordinators in northside Bethlehem to share communications and events. He was thrilled to bring everyone together and create a self-sustaining team.

Outside of the office, Phil enjoys spending time with his two young daughters, Mary and Annemarie.

Interested in learning more about Communities In Schools of Eastern PA? Click here.



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