July 14, 2021

Carol Kelley Takes Helm at Valley Road; Greenberg Is New PHS Assistant Principal

By Donald Gilpin

Stephanie Greenberg

July might be vacation month for students and teachers, but Princeton Public Schools (PPS) administrators are rapidly gearing up for the September start of a school year that will look very different from past years.

On July 1, new PPS Superintendent Carol Kelley took over the district leadership from Interim Superintendent Barry Galasso. “In my first 100 days as superintendent, my goal is to learn as much as I can about who we are today,” she wrote in a letter to the community. “I look forward to sitting with many of you and listening to your lived experiences in Princeton Public Schools, and hearing about our shining strengths, as well as our most pressing challenges.”

Looking to “create new ways of working together,” Kelley pointed out three “overarching goals” for the district under her leadership: “improving student learning for all; creating learning conditions where every learner can thrive; and elevating educators.” She added, “The golden thread weaving through each of these goals is my life purpose — inspiring and advancing educational equity and excellence in our schools.”

At Princeton High School (PHS), Stephanie Greenberg, formerly PPS humanities supervisor, has been appointed assistant principal, joining new principal Frank Chmiel and the team of assistant principals that also includes Cecilia Birge and Rashone Johnson.

Greenberg came to PPS in November 2018 after teaching English at Millburn High School for five years. She has also taught in West Windsor-Plainsboro; Brooklyn, N.Y.; South Korea; and Taiwan. She has a bachelor of arts degree in English from Princeton University and master of arts degrees in politics and education from Columbia University Teachers College and in educational administration from Rutgers University.

Greenberg described some of the challenges and long-term effects of leading more than 40 English and social studies teachers through the past 18 months of education in the pandemic environment.

“Historically, public education has been an institution that is very slow to change,” she wrote in an email. “Suddenly, in 2020, everything changed almost overnight. Out of necessity we pivoted into entirely new modes of instructional delivery, school-day structure, and modes of interacting and communicating. This was a brutally hard year, but many teachers have shared with me that they are eager to bring their new skills and approaches with them into the future.”

She continued, reflecting on what that future might look like, “Similarly, many students and families don’t simply want a return to pre-pandemic approaches. We administrators need to listen carefully to our faculty, students, and families and understand how we should move forward from here. Instructionally, socially, logistically: What worked? What didn’t work? For  whom? In asking those questions, we need to be sure that we are hearing from loud and soft voices alike.”

Greenberg praised the PHS teachers and students. “There’s no doubt that PHS is the home of skilled, caring, and talented students and faculty,’ she said.  “I was blown away by the commitment and effort that our faculty and students put into making this past year work as well as possible. Watching our in-person, hybrid, and virtual classes was a privilege — teachers and students worked together to make it through tech challenges, had vibrant class discussions, and constantly extended grace and empathy towards one another as each of us struggled to balance our school lives and home needs.”

Kelley described Greenberg as “an engaging and accomplished educator with experience, leadership, and a passion for learning, a tremendous asset to Princeton High School.”

Praising Greenberg’s exceptional qualifications, Chmiel added, “There was a diverse, talented, and highly qualified group of candidates for this position. Ms. Greenberg brings three years of quality leadership experience. Her erudition and acumen, combined with her devotion to helping all learners succeed, won over the interview committee.”

When she is not working, Greenberg enjoys running and singing. She has competed in the New York City Marathon and more than 20 other races. As a vocal ensemble member, she has performed with a cappella groups and choruses in Princeton, Seoul, New York City, and San Francisco. She serves on the alumni board of Princeton University’s Teacher Preparation Program and has also collaborated with Princeton University alumni to award the Princeton Prize in Race Relations, a $1,000 scholarship given annually to a local high school student who has worked to promote racial harmony in their community.

Greenberg cited the Princeton community as “a uniquely powerful asset to our work at PHS and in PPS generally.” She noted many local institutions and community organizations that support the students and schools. “To be honest, it’s overwhelming sometimes,” she said. “But what a privilege to know that our community is so eager to help educate our young people.”