Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Anna Gonzalez Kosek has announced her retirement from the Princeton Public Schools, effective June 30, 2020. Ms. Kosek made plans to retire from PPS months ago, never imagining how much the school environment would change in 2020.
"I've always loved a good challenge," said Ms. Kosek in a letter to PPS staff, adding that her decision to retire came after much reflection on a "long and rewarding" forty-one-year career in education. "I am grateful to be able to say with the deepest sincerity that I have loved every minute of the past seventeen years as both principal of Littlebrook School and as assistant superintendent, and because of that, I do hope to continue to work in public or higher education in some capacity," Ms. Kosek said in the letter.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the Princeton Public Schools," she added. "I am retiring with full confidence that our District is ever more effectively preparing our students to lead purposeful, productive, and joyful lives."
Ms. Kosek said her retirement plans were in place last August and weren't affected by COVID-19 or the decision of Superintendent Steve Cochrane to retire.
Mr. Cochrane had high praise for Ms. Kosek. “Annie is one of the most outstanding educators with whom I have ever worked,” he stated. “She rejoices in her relationships with students, staff and families, and she relishes the challenge of changing cultures, programs, and systems. Her efforts are collaborative. She listens and she leads.”
“The successful and collaborative implementation of a remote learning program for the entire district during the extraordinary circumstances of a global pandemic may be the culmination of Annie’s career at PPS,” he said. “But it is only part of what she has accomplished in her three years as assistant superintendent.”
Mr. Cochrane noted that under Ms. Kosek’s leadership, the District has established a process of program review for all subjects; engaged in a comprehensive update of all curriculum now accessible in an electronic database; implemented a new school-wide enrichment program; revised the elementary school report card; and implemented a Summer Academy for professional development by teachers for teachers.
“Perhaps most significantly,” said Mr. Cochrane, “she has overseen an incredible effort to provide professional development related to equity with a sustained focus on culturally responsive teaching and differentiated instruction. All of our children have been impacted by her work – and will continue to be.”
Ms. Kosek served as the principal of Littlebrook School for 14 years before moving to central administration as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum in 2017. It was under her leadership that Littlebrook was selected as a Blue Ribbon School. Ms. Kosek was an elementary school teacher, a K-12 staff developer and a K-8 Supervisor of Language Arts in Hopewell before coming to PPS in 2003.
Ms. Kosek, who lives in Hopewell Township, grew up near Buffalo, New York. She is one of seven children and has two grown children of her own.
Mr. Cochrane announced earlier in the year that he will also retire at the end of June. The Board of Education is in the process of interviewing candidates for an interim superintendent who will take charge of the district on July 1.
"I know that the retirement of both the superintendent and an assistant superintendent poses quite a challenge for a district, even without being in the middle of imposed distance teaching and learning," Ms. Kosek said. "We are certainly forging new ground these days -- and doing it successfully, I believe, because of the very solid ground we're on as a district. "
"The district is grateful to Ms. Kosek for working to ensure that the PPS curriculum offers students from Pre-K through grade 12 a rich and challenging learning experience, consistent with the best practices and 21st Century standards for teaching and learning," said Beth Behrend, president of the PPS Board of Education. "Annie's intellect, her professionalism, her warmth, and ability to work well with teachers and staff has served the district well," Ms. Behrend said.
Ms. Behrend added that the board was "grateful to Ms. Kosek for her many years of service and for her creativity and enthusiasm. She has helped to infuse our curriculum with opportunities for joy and purpose for our students, and she has been a respected and popular administrator during her entire tenure."
"We are sincerely sad to see such an accomplished educator like Annie retire, but are grateful for the legacy she leaves in terms of enhanced and articulated curriculum, strong instruction, and innovative professional development," said Ms. Behrend, speaking for the Board. "Despite these uncertain times, the Princeton Public Schools continues to attract impressive candidates for our administrative posts. We anticipate interviewing many talented educators in the months ahead to ensure the continued good work of the district into the future."
- District News