Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Administrator shuffle: PMHS principal will depart; PMS principal takes medical leave; district interims to step in

In two years, school district loses four top administrators after short stints

Pelham Memorial High School Principal Mark Berkowitz is leaving at the end of the school year to pursue another position, while Pelham Middle School Principal Lynn Sabia is taking temporary medical leave beginning this month.

In announcing the moves at the top of both secondary schools, Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ said in an email PMS Assistant Principal Sean Llewellyn will serve as acting principal of the middle school through June and then Champ will recommend the school board appoint him interim principal of PMHS for next school year.

The superintendent’s email did not mention a search for a new principal.

Dr. Maria Thompson, the district’s current director of humanities, will become PMS assistant principal on an acting basis through June and then the interim assistant principal next school year, assuming board approval. On July 1, the district will begin a search to fill Thompson’s current role leading the English and social studies departments on an interim basis.

Thompson “is thrilled to transition to this new role working alongside Ms. Sabia to lead our middle school,” said Champ in the email.

Spring is already a busy hiring season for Champ. Last week, the school board hired a search firm to replace Dr. Alice Bowman as assistant superintendent for teaching and learning after she resigned in March to take a similar post in a Long Island school district.

Over the past two years, the Pelham school district has seen a good deal of turnover among its top administrators, with four leaving after staying in their jobs for two-to-four year stints. Bowman is departing after two years in the job, and Berkowitz, who replaced former Principal Jeannine Clark when she retired, will leave the high school after four. In March 2022, Julia Chung, assistant superintendent for pupil personnel services, stepped down in the middle of the school year following three years working in Pelham, while last year Athletic Director Christian Hodge also resigned mid-year with three years on the job.

In response to questions on what might come next after the interim appointments, school district spokesman Alex Wolff said in an email, “At the April 17 meeting, the board will also be asked to approve leaves of absences for Mr. Llewellyn and Dr. Thompson from their current positions in order to assume the new roles. This would preserve their ability to return to their current positions in the future.”

Those steps will give the district “stability for both buildings and draw upon the experience and expertise of two talented and proven administrators,” Wolff said. “The board, in collaboration with Dr. Champ, will then have the year to assess the best course of action for both schools going forward.”

Llewellyn has been PMS assistant principal since 2018 and before that was supervisor of the International Baccalaureate program and supervisor of the English department for grades six through 12. Before to coming to Pelham, he was an assistant principal on Long Island for nine years.

“I believe that Mr. Llewellyn’s breadth of experience as an administrator, curricular acumen and deep ties to our staff, students and community will lead him to success both in his short-term position leading the middle school and as he guides the high school into the 2024-25 school year,” Champ said in the email. “Dr. Thompson is one of the finest educators I have ever known and possesses an intricate knowledge of our school district, having served as a long-time social studies teacher and supervisor before assuming her current position.”

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Oliver Lavallee, Assistant Managing Editor
Oliver Lavallee is a junior at Pelham Memorial High School. In addition to writing, he enjoys reading, drawing and playing drums.

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