Phyllis Lieberman was born on January 29, 1945 in Philadelphia and grew up in the West Oak Lane section before moving to Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 16.  She returned to Philadelphia in 1963 to study at Temple University.  Phyllis and Max Lieberman were married in 1964 and relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska and Shreveport, Louisiana while Max served as an officer in the United States Air Force.  While in Shreveport, Phyllis earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Centenary College and became a second-grade teacher in Bossier Parish. Phyllis and Max lived in Greenbelt, Maryland for three years where Phyllis taught fourth grade before returning to the Philadelphia area in 1971.  Phyllis was a very generous and caring person, and those of us who were lucky enough to know her learned that she spent more money buying food and clothes for the underprivileged students she taught than she did on herself.

After returning to the Philadelphia area, Phyllis earned a master’s degree in public administration from Pennsylvania State University in 1980, and she was hired as a temporary assistant manager by Whitpain Township.  In 1981 she became township manager and served in that position for thirty years.

During Phyllis’s time in Whitpain Township, the population grew from 11,000 to almost 19,000, and included large residential developments such as Blue Bell Country Club that added 850 new homes.  One of Mrs. Lieberman’s proudest accomplishments was the preservation of open space and creation of Wentz Run Park.  Prior to this park being built, Whitpain did not have any active recreational facilities anywhere in township, and now Phyllis’s fingerprint will last forever as residents and youth sports organizations enjoy one of the gems of Montgomery County.  Yet another gem is the acquisition of 82 acres known as Prophecy Creek Park and the creation of one of the premier wedding venues in the region.  Phyllis was also very proud when Whitpain Township was named as one of the most desirable locations to live in by Philadelphia Magazine and Money Magazine.

Phyllis Lieberman’s work as municipal manager did not end at the Township borders. Phyllis was an active member and past president of the Rotary Club, as well as the Montgomery County Consortium of Communities.   Mrs. Lieberman was also one of the founding members of the Delaware Valley Insurance Trust (DVIT) and served on the executive board until 2012.  DVIT was formed by a small group of municipal managers in 1989 during a time when commercial liability insurance premiums began to soar, and this group of managers was able to creatively develop a way to contain costs by establishing a risk management pool.  The Trust over time was expanded to include worker’s compensation and medical insurance.

Phyllis was also a long-time board member on the Montgomery County Solid Waste Authority and was responsible for organizing one of the first county-wide hazardous waste disposal events.

Phyllis Lieberman was extremely hardworking and dedicated to the profession, but she always found time to learn about what was going on in the lives of every single member of her Township family.  Although Phyllis avoided being in the spotlight, she always made sure that her employees received the proper recognition for their accomplishments.

Phyllis was a pioneer who understood that achieving success often requires taking risks, but she also demonstrated with her leadership abilities how to manage that risk.  Mrs. Lieberman transformed Whitpain Township into the prestigious municipality it is today and created a community that can be enjoyed for many generations. Most importantly, Phyllis Lieberman through her actions created a template that any municipal manager could learn from and be successful if they follow her example.

The Phyllis Lieberman Women’s Trailblazer Scholarship, established by the Delaware Valley Trusts’ Board of Managers in December 2018, honors the memory of Phyllis Lieberman to promote the advancement of women in local municipal government.  The 2022 scholarship application cycle will be announced in early September 2021.