The Pelham Board of Education appointed Rachael Garcia as the next Principal of Colonial School at its meeting on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Ms. Garcia, who will officially join Pelham on July 6, currently serves as Principal of P.S. 173 in Manhattan and brings an extensive career in elementary education, possessing valuable experience which I believe make her an exceptional fit for the Pelham Public Schools.
“Throughout the screening process, Ms. Garcia emerged as an impressive candidate from a diverse and talented field,” said Dr. Cheryl H. Champ, Superintendent of Schools. “Her skills as a communicator, collaborator and educational leader were apparent throughout the process, which included interviews with myself and my cabinet, committees of parents, administrators and teachers, and a final interview with the Board of Education. We are extremely excited to be welcoming her to our District.”
In her current role, which she has held since 2015, Ms. Garcia has worked to build a strong sense of community in her school and make P.S. 173 an inviting environment for staff and students alike. Over the past five years, Ms. Garcia has overseen and helped improve the academic standards in her school by creating and facilitating the balanced literacy curriculum, developing meaningful professional development and holding teachers to high expectations.
“Pelham represents the ideal community where people really care about each other and where everyone matters,” Ms. Garcia said. “As a district, Pelham's focus on educating the ‘whole child' really speaks to their love of children, their commitment to student success and the importance of building relationships. It is an honor to have been chosen as the Principal of Colonial Elementary School where we will continue the great work that makes this school so special while striving to make a difference in the lives of our students, our community and our world. I am excited to meet the students, staff, families and community members and eager to start building those powerful relationships that make ‘Pelham Strong!’"
Prior to becoming principal at P.S. 173, Ms. Garcia held positions as assistant principal and Literacy Coach at P.S. 555: Mount Eden Children’s Academy where she developed the K-5 literacy curriculum and supervised the special education program, among other responsibilities. Her elementary school experience also includes an 11-year teaching career during which she taught kindergarten, 3rd grade, 4th grade and 5th grade at P.S. 96, P.S. 196 and P.S. 555.
Ms. Garcia holds a Master’s of School Administration and Supervision from Mercy College and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Iona College and is currently completing a Master’s in Progressive Leadership from Bank Street College.
Interim Principal Susan Gilbert will continue to lead Colonial for the remainder of the school year.
“I want to once again express my sincere gratitude to Susan Gilbert for returning to effectively lead Colonial through this incredibly trying year and know that she will continue to be a steady presence over the remaining two months of the school year,” Dr. Champ said.