The Ridgefield Board of Education on Monday appointed a longtime Greenwich teacher and administrator with a strong background in special education as the new principal at Ridgefield High School.
Dr. Stacey Gross, Greenwich's assistant superintendent for
Curriculum, Instruction & Professional Learning, is scheduled to take the helm at the school—recently —on July 1, according to a press release issued by Superintendent Deborah Low.
In visiting a middle school in Greenwich where Gross recently had served as principal, Low said members of Ridgefield’s hiring committee received positive feedback on the candidate’s leadership style and mentoring.
“Teachers described her as providing valuable insights during the evaluation process and noted she was ‘one of the best’ at providing purposeful and targeted feedback,” Low said. “They described her manner as ‘direct and respectful.’ They noted that Dr. Gross motivates people to do more and acknowledges it when it happens. They also described her as very approachable and fair. Parents described the great relationships she established and her outreach to them.”
“Everyone commented that students found Dr. Gross approachable, a good listener, fair, and that they respected her,” Low added. “All references and site visit groups stated that her leaving would be a huge loss to Greenwich.”
Gross earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, a Master’s of Education in special education, an Advanced Certificate in administration and supervision, and a Doctorate of Education in administration and supervision, all from Fordham University in the Bronx, NY, Low said.
She started professionally as a special education teacher in New York State for five years prior to accepting a special education teaching position in Greenwich, where she taught for 11 years and became one of the school’s “housemasters” for three years, responsible for about 550 students.
Gross then became principal at Western Middle School and introduced an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program, “instituting an advisory program, developing a positive school community, and setting high expectations for all.”
“As a result of her leadership at Western Middle School, the school was awarded the Exemplary School Climate Award from the Connecticut Association of Schools,” Low said. “Dr. Gross also received the 2010 Middle School Principal of the Year award from CAS.”
“I am enthusiastic and excited about the appointment of Dr. Gross as principal of Ridgefield High School,” Low concluded. “Her knowledge, skills, background, accomplishments, energy, leadership style, and commitment to students are a great match for the position. I am confident Dr. Gross will build upon the accomplishments of the staff and students at Ridgefield High School and lead everyone forward to successfully meet the challenges ahead.”
A message seeking comment from Gross was left Tuesday morning. Her departure marks a continued trend of upper school management positions that will need to be filled. The board of education recently hired Dr. William McKersie as the new school superintendent. There are several vacancies including director of facilities, two district program coordinators, along with principals who are retiring.
Local editor Barbara Heins contributed to this report.