Meet Dr. Brian Scriven: Cheltenham schools superintendent and former CHS football/basketball standout

After spending nearly three decades at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County Public Schools, Dr. Brian W. Scriven, a 1983 graduate of Cheltenham High School, returned home in October 2021 to assume the role of superintendent of the Cheltenham School District. 

Now entering his third year, Dr. Scriven is in the process of relocating the last of his former Maryland life for his new life as a resident of Wyncote.

“It was an easy process because I still have my family up here. My dad’s older now, he’s 89, so I’m able to be a support for him as well,” he said.

Dr. Scriven served Woodlawn High as an educational administrator and a football coach, bringing his years of experience on the fields of Cheltenham High and Bloomsburg University, his collegiate alma mater.

Dr. Scriven delivering the first pitch of Cheltenham Little League’s season opener

At Cheltenham, a young Scriven scored over 500 points over three years with the basketball team and was named a First Team all-league running back and defensive end in football.

“I was probably equally as good in basketball as I was in football, but football was my passion,” Dr. Scriven said. “Back then, Scott Trumble played, and his father was on staff at the high school. He was a pretty good athlete as well. Our rival was always Abington. That was always our biggest game. When Bishop McDevitt was still around, they were our rivals through proximity.”

According to local historian Chuck Langerman, on February 25, 1983, Scriven scored 11 of his game-high 17 points in the final quarter to lead the Panthers to a 46-34 victory over Springfield Delco in the first round of the PIAA District 1 Class AAA playoffs.

The victory was Cheltenham’s first in postseason play since 1968 when the Panthers appeared in the state finals before losing to Laurel Highlands in overtime.

How has education changed over the course of your career?

“I think you have to speak to the family dynamic first. Part of what we’re really trying to cultivate at Cheltenham is a true partnership between family and school. I was a teacher in the early ’90s, and I remember the overwhelming support of families. As a teacher, you were held in high regard and if you had an issue with a kid, you weren’t getting parents that were enablers. At some point there was a shift where that family structure became less profound. In many instances, in my experience, a lot of students were living with people who aren’t their parents and, to a certain extent, running the house.

“Now it’s about getting students to take ownership of their learning. We live in an instant gratification world right now where kids need to be coached to stay away from shortcuts. They need to know you need to work hard, and we’re trying to give parents the blueprints for success.”

Best memories from Cheltenham High School (as a student):

“I was an athlete, and the competitiveness probably saved me. It kept me from going too far in the wrong direction. The relationships that I had with fellow athletes was huge. We had a brotherhood, and I’m reconnecting some of those individuals now. You wouldn’t even know that it’s been 40 years.

“Cheltenham has always had a lot of pride. I remember the pep rallies, and you felt good about being a part of that Cheltenham community.”

Most satisfying professional moment:

“Returning here. I was an average academic student, and to have an opportunity to come back as the superintendent of a district from which I graduated and which laid the foundation for who I am, that’s nice.”

Favorite things about the greater Glenside area:

“It’s a beautiful community. I think it’s unique and has a lot of different flavors. We’re a micro of what the larger world stands for and represents.”

Words of wisdom/advice for Cheltenham’s recent graduates:

“Stay true to yourself, stay committed to what you’re passionate about, and don’t chase someone else’s dream. Have clear goals and have actionable steps to make them a reality. Have a small core group of individuals that you can go to for mentorship and guidance.”

For more on Dr. Scriven, you can click here. For his first pitch of the Cheltenham Little League’s season opener in April 2022, you can watch this video:

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Photos courtesy of Dr. Scriven