With sadness and deep gratitude, the Pelham Public Schools on Wednesday night accepted the retirements of Pelham Memorial High School Principal Jeannine Clark and Siwanoy School Principal Susan Gilbert effective at the end of this school year. Both have been fixtures at their schools for more than a decade and have had a profound impact on the lives of thousands of students.
Mrs. Clark came to Pelham in 2004. Under her leadership, PMHS has boasted extremely high graduation rates and there has been a significant increase in students attending top tier colleges and universities. The high school has seen a substantial increase in both the number of AP and college credit-bearing courses offered and, with open access, the number of students taking those courses has increased significantly. Mrs. Clark has also been an advocate for students’ participation in athletics and extracurricular activities and she has been a fixture at hundreds of school events over the years. Her experience and leadership were essential in building the past two District Strategic Plans, which have led to several substantial curriculum changes, including the addition of Mandarin as a world language. During her tenure, she has served on a variety of District committees, most recently serving as co-chair of the Diversity/Cultural Competence committees, which worked to celebrate and honor the diversity of our student body.
Mrs. Gilbert started as Principal of Siwanoy School in 2003 and has been a fixture at the school for 17 years. During her career, she has been a tireless school leader and advocate for children. Each day, she has focused solely on ensuring that every child matters. Under her leadership, Siwanoy has been named a Reward School by New York State for four consecutive years. She has spearheaded important work to curb bullying, encourage kindness and helped to implement MakerSpaces and new technology in the classroom. Mrs. Gilbert has encouraged students’ creativity and played a key role in developing the elementary curriculum. Specifically, she has led efforts to improve the District’s literacy and arts programming and was heavily involved in bringing Spanish-language instruction to the elementary schools. She was also instrumental in developing the 5th grade Make-a-Change capstone and implementing Responsive Classroom. Her relentless efforts to create space for children to experience and learn about nature culminated with the opening of Siwanoy’s Outdoor Classroom last school year, which will impact children for years to come.
“Both Mrs. Gilbert and Mrs. Clark will leave lasting legacies that have made our District a better place for children,” said Dr. Cheryl Champ, Superintendent of Schools. “They have been incredible leaders and earned respect from their staff, parents and students. I feel fortunate to have been able to work with both of them over the past few years and know that the shoes they leave behind will be difficult to fill. I look forward to continuing our work throughout the remainder of the school year and wish them the best of luck in retirement.”
The District will begin a search for both successors after the Holiday Recess with the goal of filling the positions before the end of the school year. More information about the search process will be forthcoming.