Dr. Michael Kirsch, Grafflin’s principal, will retire this year after 38 years at the helm. He is only the second principal to have served at the school since its founding in 1962. Every teacher, except one, has been hired by Kirsch.
After serving as principal at a school in Pennsylvania for two years, Kirsch came to Chappaqua and has been happily ensconsed in the hamlet ever since. “I still pinch myself that I got the job here,” he said. “It’s a wonderful place,” he continued.
During his tenure, many successful programs have been instituted. Kirsch is particularly proud of the greenhouse and the educational activities housed therein. Each student has tasted cucumber and lettuce grown hydroponically. Kirsch sees the study of hydroponics as being of paramount importance to students due to the decrease in arable land and water for irrigation. He also hopes that the greenhouse will plant new ideas in students’ minds. “Maybe some kid will decided to become a botanist,” he mused.
Incoming principal Jamie Edelman, the current principal of Putnam Valley Elementary School, will begin her new position on July 1. She was inspired to choose a career in education from a very young age by her mother, a teacher; her father, a board of education member; and by her second grade teacher.
Edelman has implemented several projects at Putnam Valley which she hopes to bring to Grafflin. At read aloud day, local luminaries, including the county executive and board of education members, are invited to come to school to read one of their favorite books. “It’s nice for the community to come into the school and get a sense of what’s happening,” she observed. For the program entitled Great Expectations – which encourages students to follow the principles of being kind, safe, respectful and responsible – students earn a leaf on the tree in the lobby, emblazoned with their name.
At home, Edelman is the proud mother of Max, 10 and Julia, 8. “Nothing has informed my work as an educator more than my two children,” she related, in a jovial tone.