News Archive

Susan O. Sojka Appointed Principal
Posted 09/15/2017 11:37AM

Former TGS Associate Principal and new school Principal Sue Sojka, was honored when Deb Lewis, Director of Curriculum, told her she had nominated her for a New England League of Middle Schools A+ Administrator's Award. The award is given to administrators who "value, understand, and support effective middlelevel education that promotes learning for young adolescents.""I appreciated the nomination so much," says Sue. "When I got the letter stating I had won, I was very humbled to be recognized for my work." Sue received her award at a special ceremony at the NELMS conference in Providence, Rhode Island, at the end of March. "I was very proud to be representing Gilbert at the biggest middle school conference in New England," Sue said. More recently, another honor has been bestowed upon Sue as she has been named Gilbert's new Principal, replacing Alan Strauss, who submitted his resignation on June 26th. "I feel grateful and excited," says Sue. "I appreciate the support that the Gilbert School Board, the W.L. Gilbert Trust, and Head of School/Superintendent Dr. Tony Serio have given me, and the confidence and trust they have placed in me."

Sue's background and experience make her well equipped to carry out the responsibilities of her new role. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Hartford in Education, a Master's Degree from the University of Saint Joseph in Counseling, and a Sixth-year Educational Leadership/School Counseling degree from Central Connecticut State University. Before arriving at TGS, she was at Granby Memorial Middle School, where she served as a teacher and school counselor before getting into administration. "My experiences as a teacher, school counselor, and administrator give me the perspective to see the academic side as well as the social and emotional elements, and look at all angles of a situation to find a solution," Sue says. "It's helped me to be a better administrator, communicate with parents and teachers, and nurture students through their journey with respect."

Sue is adept at transitions. She started her career at Gilbert in the 2011 – 2012 school year when the 7th and 8th grade came on campus, and was hired to help start the middle school program. When Dr. Cressy was superintendent, Dan Hatch was principal, and Joe Dombrowki was associate principal, Sue was appointed assistant principal. A few years later she was appointed associate principal, focusing on the middle school as well as 9th grade. And now TGS is in the midst of a new transition. Sue is in the position to help the school navigate it and has the vision to help make it successful. "During this time of reorganization, the school is not removing the position of associate principal—it is in moratorium," says Sue. "As the new principal of 7 – 12, there will be consistency. I am ready to take this step and be a help to guide this new 'global' approach. It feels right, and I'm excited to keep moving forward!"

Sue believes that TGS has a strong and dedicated administrative team under the guidance and direction of Dr. Serio. "Julie McDougal, Director of Student Services, Deb Lewis, Director of Curriculum, and Maura Hurley, Dean of Students, are wonderful and talented and they are very supportive," Sue says. "Along with our strong administrators, we have enthusiastic and committed teachers, a devoted and hard-working staff, and involved parents and students – we couldn't ask for a better team."

There is another noteworthy aspect to Sue being appointed TGS principal. "After 122 years, there is a woman filling that office at the school," she says. "Being the first woman principal is the icing on the cake! As a mother of two daughters and one son, I am setting an example for them as well as the whole student body. I think as a role model it's important to show that if you are kind, work hard, and treat people well, good things will happen. It shows that doors can and will open." Sue is grateful to be playing an integral role in the next phase of Gilbert's legacy of greatness. "There is so much history here," she says. I am excited to continue it, to participate in another transition, to be a part of its evolution."

© 2017 The Gilbert School
200 WILLIAMS AVENUE | WINSTED, CT 06098 | T: 860-379-8521

© 2017 The Gilbert School | 200 WILLIAMS AVENUE | WINSTED, CT 06098 | T: 860-379-8521

© 2013 The Gilbert School
T: 860-379-8521

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