Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Dr. Susan Groesbeck says there’s no time to waste this year. Especially when a year is all you have.
Groesbeck was hired as the interim head of Girls Preparatory School specifically for the 2013-2014 school year alone. A permanent new head of school should be announced in early 2014. In the meantime, Groesbeck is hitting the ground running and said she is quickly getting to know her staff and students.
To accomplish the task, each morning she opens the doors to greet carpoolers and their parents, goes out of her way to attend the students’ sporting events and even invited the senior class to her home for dinner the Monday before classes began.
And the students seem willing to help. At the dinner, the seniors presented her with a very helpful tool — flash cards containing each of their names, pictures and two facts about themselves.
“It is one of the more loving things I have ever been presented with,” Groesbeck said.
Former GPS Head of School Randy Tucker had served in the position for more than 25 years before retiring last spring.
“When you’ve had a very long-term head, sometimes the transition is so hard for the new person that they won’t be of long tenure,” said Groesbeck, adding that she isn’t in the running for the permanent head of school job. “Little changes can happen under my short tenure and make the long-term person more successful. It’s my role to get [the school] ready for the next person.”
Though this is Groesbeck’s first time as an interim, it is far from the former French and German teacher’s first time as head of school. Working in the education field for 42 years and obtaining her doctorate in curriculum development and supervision, she has served in a head position at four different schools of all “different shapes and sizes.”
Her most recent head position was at an international school located in Toronto, Canada. While there, she had the opportunity to travel all over the globe.
“I have friends in Hong Kong and I’ve had dinner in a Bedouin tent in Saudi Arabia,” Groesbeck reminisced. “It’s been an extraordinary career and one I’ve never envisioned.”
Her goals for her year at GPS involve the strategic transitional plan approved by the board of trustees, she said, and she also plans to help the school with best practices, though she insisted there is nothing “wrong” with the school as it is.
“This is a natural evolution between two heads,” Groesbeck said. “[This year] I hope they are really proud of this place and I hope I can hold up a mirror and point out what extraordinary things are going on here.
“I think I’ll be sad to leave yet again in the spring,” she added. “But I’ll take with me another school, a group of graduating students that I will claim as my own.”