Susan Stevens named new Chilmark head of school
Susan Stevens has accepted the position as the new Head of School at Chilmark School. Superintendent of schools James Weiss announced Ms. Stevens's appointment last Friday, after public interviews of her and two other finalists were concluded on May 21.
Chilmark School's current leader, Diane Gandy, will retire at the end of the school year.
"I spoke with Mrs. Stevens last night at her home in Florida and she was truly excited to be joining our team," Mr. Weiss wrote in an email to The Times on May 29. "She will bring broad experience in both classroom and special education as well as many years as a guidance counselor and building coordinator to this position."
In a follow-up phone call yesterday, Mr. Weiss said Ms. Stevens's three-year contract sets her salary at $82,000.
Ms. Stevens currently works as an exceptional student education (ESE) coordinator at the Bak Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Fla. Her students include special education students who are disabled and gifted students. She has about 600 gifted students that she oversees, about 200 at each grade level, and about 30 to 40 ESE students, making a total of about 727 students under her guidance "umbrella."
"Her experience is really with much bigger schools, but she's played a role within them that I think will put her in good stead in terms of Chilmark School," Mr. Weiss said.
Enrollment at the Bak Middle School, a public arts magnet school, is 1,300 students. At Chilmark School, Ms. Stevens will oversee 33 students in grades K-5.
"I got an email from a friend of mine today, who said, 33 kids, you'll know all the families and their cats and dogs and grandparents," she laughed.
Ms. Stevens already got some insider tips from a former Chilmark School student who happens to attend Bak Middle School.
"Before I came up for my interview, I interviewed her," Ms. Stevens said. "She had two negatives - one was when you climb in a tree, there's a rule she thinks is stupid - only two to a tree - and the other is that she didn't like the food. Otherwise, she told me positives about every teacher she had."
Ms. Stevens said the student also offered insight about how she felt being in Chilmark School's multi-grade environment, which was very helpful. "She probably gave me more information than anybody else, because she actually lived it - she didn't see it from the outside," Ms. Stevens added.