December 5, 2018

PHS Principal Snyder Announces Retirement, 16 Years at the Helm

By Donald Gilpin

Gary Snyder, Princeton High School (PHS) principal for more than 15 years, has announced that he will retire in June 2019, at the end of this school year.

When Snyder came to PHS in 2003 at the age of 40, the school had been led by seven different principals in the previous decade. “I hope to bring some stability in the leadership position, and to create a vision for what we do,” he said at the time of his hiring, and over the past decade and a half he has displayed that successful staying power.

“This time of year, the steamy days of June are probably only in the thoughts of high school seniors and retiring principals,” he wrote in a letter to PHS students, parents, and community yesterday, “but we will each keep focus on the work and learning before us in the coming months.”

Though not clearly defined at the moment, Snyder’s plans for the future, he says, have been inspired “by the young people who graduate from PHS to do amazing things in this world, and I feel the calling to also take a risk, follow my passions, and see where else I can serve others.”

He continued, “Maybe I’ll be teaching, writing poetry, volunteering, or going on long bike rides. I am grateful for my time at PHS and appreciative of the support over the years from students, colleagues, parents, and community.”

Originally from Pennsylvania, Snyder received a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and social studies from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in public school administration from Virginia Tech. 

Before taking the reins at PHS, Snyder was a social studies teacher for eight years, a high school athletic director for three years, a high school assistant principal for six years, and, in 2003, when he was hired at PHS, the principal of Pioneer Valley Regional School, a high school in Northfield, Mass.

“Fortunately, there is time between now and the end of June to continue the work and to share thoughts and stories with you before I pass the baton in June,” Snyder’s letter concluded.  “I look forward to the Winter Concert, the inevitable snowy days, and the traditions of a Princeton High spring.”

Plans for appointing Snyder’s successor have not been announced.