S: sUSAN GARTENBERG M.A. Principal
BC: Leaders don't create followers They create more leaders! You will be missed You will remain in our hearts forever!
5: Mrs. Gartenberg's decision to retire is a most bittersweet announcement. So many of us have so much to thank her for that we want her choices to be most satisfying while we realize also the significance of her departure to the community. I met Susan 22 years ago. She was sitting in an office in a side hall of Bais Rochel. I had been asked by Mr. Weider to develop the policies, practices and protocols for a new school district: Kiryas Joel Union Free School District. It was immediately clear that such an enterprise could not commence--let alone be successful--without the involvement and insights of this extraordinary professional. I depended on her every day for every year that I had the opportunity to work along side of Susan. The role of "Principal" is the most challenging and critical in any school district. And, despite the unique pressures that our district encountered and in the light of intense public scrutiny of decision making, Mrs. Gartenberg proved to be ever the equal to any (and all) tasks. With a work ethic second to none, Susan went about creating a staff and an esprit de corp that any community can only hope to develop. By every standard we found ourselves a reflection of her focus, skills and community commitment. The new building; the integration of programs and staff; the goal of ensuring that every child receive every possible opportunity to progress became the theme of a unique school. The community of Kiryas Joel, the staff of the school district and, most importantly, the children served by that district, sing in unison: Thank you for an entire career of WELL DONE. Steven Benardo
6: THE ABC's of ADMINISTRATION The elements of becoming a great administrator begin with knowing how to teach others. Susan, these are the ABC's of what we've learned from you. A- Articulate - You know what to say and what not say in any situation. You are skilled in the art of interviewing and making the applicant feel so comfortable. You are careful to convey information with clarity to the staff and to parents. B- Bold- You are always a leader, conceiving and creating new plans of action. C- Confidentiality- You are extremely careful and cautious in this matter with regard to students and staff. D- Dignity -You respect the position and the way you carry yourself brings respect to the position as well. Dedication- No one works harder! E- Educational leadership-You strive to help each student reach his/her fullest potential. F- Finesse- There is an art to communicating between central administration and staff. You are adept at facilitating greater understanding. G- Groundwork- You encourage a thoughtful process for every initiative. H- Harmony- You facilitate teamwork between teachers, paras, therapists, etc. I-Innovative- Your three pronged approach to behavior management has brought the school to a new level. J- Jack of all trades and Master of all as well - K- KJ is forever indebted to you. L- Lady- You are always meticulously attired, and display appropriate social demeanor even in the most challenging situations. M- Mentor- You are a true teacher to all. We will be calling you for your sage advice throughout the years. N- No words can truly convey our admiration. O-Order-You created a system for EVERYTHING.
7: P- Professional, professional, professional. Need we say more? Q- Quiet Strength- Your silence speaks volumes. R- Resourceful-You find creative solutions to budget limitations. S- Sensitive- You care about your staff as employees as well as individuals. T- Technologically savvy- You have made and mastered the leap. U- Understanding- Thank you, each of us has been a recipient of your consideration. V- Very attentive to detail- No one else can even come close. W- Willing to change and adapt to new philosophies and ideals- We have the utmost respect for your ability to reconsider an idea, change your perspective, and move forward. X- X-ray vision- You see everything. Y- You created the KJ family- Not only are we an interdisciplinary team for each child, we are also a family who celebrates together and is there for each other in times of need. Z- Zero tolerance for "I can't". Thank you for teaching us that "Your I WILL counts much more than your IQ". | Sosha Gottlieb Rachel Schwartz Chani Rosengarten Mindy Melber
8: Dear Susan, As you move on into the next chapter of your life, know that you will be missed. Know that our very best wishes and thoughts go with you. You have left your indelible mark and your professional expertise. It has been happy years, yet challenging too... A time where you gave of your self...
9: A time where you imparted skills and some life lessons and aptly, also, a time we learned a great deal. We wish you only success and happiness in your future endeavors. May your upcoming years be all that you hoped for. Your Secretarial Staff
10: On behalf of our men's division, We thank Mrs. Gartenberg for 25 years of Determination to build our school; Enabling us to show our styles and talents Devotion to every student's success Individualized attention whenever needed Courage to do what needs to be done Ability to walk the line between professionalism and heimish Thoughtfulness and caring Implementation of new ideas Ongoing dedication Now and always we wish you continued success
13: Dearest Susan, Upon your retirement, we would like to take the opportunity to express our unadulterated admiration at everything you do, and everything you are. Throughout the years we’ve worked for you, you’ve displayed remarkable strength of character, sincerity, and professionalism. Although your position is an extremely demanding one, you balance your myriad of responsibilities admirably well. We all marvel at your ability to deal with the mountains of paperwork while still being mindful of each class’s reality. With your unbelievable skill of composing mandated documents, you have made our school look perfectly professional on all fronts. It is thanks to you that our school has become what it is, despite the fact that we are being judged at every level of our existence. Susan, with all of your responsibilities, you still make us feel that you care about us-- not just as your staff-- but as human beings. You take interest in our lives, participate in our simchos, and empathize with, and daven for, those in need. While you expect the best of your staff, you are understanding of our individual circumstances, and make us feel understood even when we can’t be accommodated. Susan, you have a heart—and that takes you far beyond being just a principal. Once again, Susan, THANK YOU For standing behind our school, our students, and each of us For walking along with each of your staff members in his/her journey of professional development For taking personal interest in seeing each of us succeed For your years of unfaltering devotion, toil, and stamina. Thank you for bringing us to professional and personal success! Wishing you a happy and healthy retirement, Your Ever Grateful Teaching Staff
14: Dear Friends and Colleagues, Most of you know that I began teaching at Kiryas Joel when it first became a public school district. Many also know that when the school began, there was much friction juxtaposed with opportunity, given to the cause of succeeding to instruct our students in the proper fashion. Historically, our district was breaking new ground. It was new, different and highly acclaimed yet disputed. It was not for the faint of heart. A similar spirit prevailed in America while exploring new lands that were inhabited by native peoples. Europeans had forged ahead to inhabit the region for the first time. There was much opportunity. Pioneers broke new ground. It was different and highly acclaimed, yet disputed. It was not for the faint of heart. With that inspiration, we started out on our lone and independent journey. You might say that it is in the spirit of the pioneers of the American Wild West, that we all felt that we were breaking new ground and delving into untrodden territory- slightly scary and very exciting! As with any huge undertaking into a novel situation, it can only be mastered with clarity of mind and the strength of conviction. Let me tell you a story, the Legend of Johnny Appleseed. John Chapman understood the needs of his contemporaries, and how to develop the land and to sow seeds for the future. But mostly, he did so in order to nurture those most in need. Susan Gartenberg understood the needs of her contemporaries, and how to develop the school, and how to sow seeds for the future. But mostly, she did so in order to nurture those most in need. He was John Chapman. She is Susan Gartenberg. While others during his time period, traveled by covered wagon through the dangerous wilderness, John walked. He did so in order to give his knowledge of planting and to share his meager wealth of seeds with others who had even less than him. While other district leaders sat in offices and called others in order to hand over directives to teachers, Susan sat in classrooms and brainstormed how to devise plans, and literally invent methodologies that would help our teachers be successful in transmitting information so our students could navigate life better.
15: While others passed through the wilderness without trying to make peace with native settlers who came before them, Johnny stopped to share herbs and seeds with the natives which became tools for them to improve their health. They were grateful. Susan shared her knowledge with those who were teachers before Kiryas Joel, to improve their abilities. They were grateful. Johnny spent countless hours before harvests, to make sure that the settlers would have enough seed for next years’ plantings. Susan spent countless hours before meetings, to make sure everything lined up properly, so that a student would have enough funding for next years’ plan. Johnny did not like people to fight. Johnny believed that all men should live together in harmony. Susan does not like people to fight. She believes that all teachers can work together in harmony. “Johnny Appleseed walked on. He visited his friends, and saw with pleasure the many apple trees which covered the land. And he was happy.”** Susan Gartenberg will walk on. She will visit her many friends. She will see with pleasure, the many souls she has helped over a quarter of a century of toil, and she will be happy. For all of the teachers, both from the past and present, and even for the future, I thank you. You have given us more than we can even imagine. Even more than you know. **The Story of Johnny Appleseed by Aliki, Aladdin Paperbacks, 1963 | Address given by Sheilah Galanti at the Retirement Dinner June 23, 2011
16: We the paras of the Kiryas Yoel, in order to form a more perfect school, establish a haven for our children, insure internal tranquility, provide for the common defense of a special needs child, promote their general welfare and secure the blessings of Hashem, do ordain and establish Susan Gartenberg as principal of the K. J. U. F. S. D. A school was created, a principal was chosen by the board. Mrs Gartenberg served our school for 25 years, through thick and thin, through war and peace and through law suits and settlements.. You guided us with a steady hand. The paras especially needed a strong and knowledgeable leader, since a lot of us had no formal training, with little or no experience in special education. We learned on the job with our principal advising and directing us. You set us on a path that led to a fantastic school. We certainly owe you a debt of gratitude, a debt like that of our nation, it can never be repaid. But unlike our government, we reap the benefits through our students. We, the paras try to settle the score by being the best paras we can be, by following the example you set forth and continue to serve our school in the manner you established.
17: To say that you will be missed is an understatement; to say you will be forgotten is an untruth. You will be remembered each time a program that you innovated is successful, each time a child makes progress, each time paper work is completed, and each time we the paras, are late. You were a hands on principal, tuned in to all of us. You listened to our problems, and did what you could to alleviate them. You gave us advice and helped us resolve those problems. Nor were the children left out, from a “Good Morning”, “Good Job”, “Beautiful dress” and such, you were always interacting with them. It is no wonder that when a student accomplished anything it was you they had to show it to. However, it is the way of the world that all things come to an end and so our beloved principal shall retire. You have definitely earned your retirement. We trust you will certainly continue to apply your wealth of knowledge and experience wherever necessary. We could go on and on, but since space is limited, time is limited, our vocabulary is limited and so is our constitution. So in conclusion we wish you Bracha and Hatzlacha in everything you do. | A.K.A. Shifra Fortgang
18: Para Professionals
20: OT/PT Department
22: Vision Therapists | Nurses
23: Susan, I'm thankful to have met and worked with you. You have shown nothing but kindness and a warm heart towards me. May all you days be blessed and filled with joy. I will miss you but I know I will see you again when you return to visit all your student and staff that you have watched grow over the years. Thank you for everyday that you showed me your understanding. You will always be thought of in my heart. Nyoka Young, RN | Susan. thank you for your kindness and consideration when dealing with the children, their parents, and the staff. You always have a good word to say and it's much appreciated. Although we are being left in good hands, your absence will be felt. Elliot Azoulay, RN | Dear Susan, You had a vision You made a decision To turn Shaarei Chemla into a public school You had a vision There was a collision Between K.J. and the courts You had a vision And made the transition Our school became public You had a vision And persevered with precision We are now a school second to none Susan, you were the visionary for our school. You were the idealist. You set up our school for success and so it shall remain with due thanks & gratitude to you and your visions. Jennie & Wendy | Susan, Have a long, healthy, enjoyable, restful, peaceful,happy, calm, stress free, nachas filled, relaxing retirement. Your days should be filled with mitzvos, torah, menuchas hanefesh, & simchas hachaim. Malkah Weinstein RN
24: speech therapists
25: Spends all her time thinking about the Kiryas Joel School Understands the dynamics of what we all do and how we all work together Supports the staff through all their professional and personal challenges Always participates in our life cycle events Never fails to advocate for our students and their families ESSENCE: Dictionary Definition: the basic real and fundamental nature of something; (in philosophy) the true nature and constitution of anything Kiryas Joel Definition: the heart and soul of something Let it be forever known that Susan Gartenberg always has, and always will, embody the essence of the Kiryas Joel Public School! Thank you for all the ways in which you have facilitated the changes in the lives of the children of Kiryas Joel. We know it was a labor of love. The Speech Department wishes you much mazel, health and good fortune in the future!
26: S p e a c i a l s
27: A principal, a mentor, a positive guide, well structured, and mannered, on this long bumpy ride... To help these "Heiliga Neshumas" reach their best, Mrs. Gartenberg, you certainly passed the test! We bid you farewell with much Hatzlacha and nachas Fradel Weiss
28: PSYCH Department
29: Dear Susan As you leave Kiryas Joel the staff of Psychology department wanted to share some thoughts and feelings. You preceded us all and watched our growth and development and certainly influenced the levels of expertise that we each contribute in our own way. While there were many times that being leader required a firm enforcement of rules, we all knew that your heart was deeply affected by every child and every circumstance. Your commitment to education, in general, and to special education, in particular, is quite laudatory and something every educator should emulate. In a school like ours, there are so many departments with different, specific needs; you were able to juggle all the demands, keep track of all the laws, resolve conflicts between "labor and managements," and stay abreast of new trends in the field. Your concern for each child and each staff member was evident in your warm interactions, your memory of personal details and your ability to accommodate each individual, giving every person what he or she needed, if it was in your capacity to do so. When we went through our own personal struggles, such as having ill family members, you were sensitive and caring. As members of the psychology department, we know first hand how you valued our contribution to the school. We do not take for granted your investment in our professional development, both within the school setting and outside of it. In particular,the fact that you made a choice to allow us to have weekly time for supervision is a testament to your understanding of the complicated, intense, and highly sensitive nature of our work. Your respect for our needs was so very apparent when our dear colleague,Chaim z"l, passed away. When you made arrangements with Chai Lifeline to come to address the Psychology and Social Work Departments separately from the rest of the school, it showed that you knew that before we could be available to help others with their grieving we would need someone who could begin the healing process for our own broken hearts. You will be missed, both personally and professionally. We take this opportunity to wish you many years of good health, continued hatzlocha in all that you do and time to engage in whatever gives joy and meaning to your live.
30: I am honored to add a few words on behalf of myself and the social work department about our esteemed honoree, Susan Gartenberg. I want to present what I believe to be Susan’s personal Ten Commandments. #1. Thou Shalt Never Lose a Red Pen By the time one puts his/her signature on a written report, you can be confident that the contents are just fine. There will be no spelling errors, no typos and nothing ambiguous or difficult for the reader to understand in that report. 2. Thou Shalt Never Forget That Thou are Human Who has not experienced Susan’s sensitivity, both on a professional and personal level, and where the two come together. While she had a school to run, with all those needs and demands, she had the human sensitivity so obvious to all of us. She was a boss and a friend, a boss and an equal, a boss and a nurturing being. 3. Thou Shalt Not Be Embarrassed to Show Your True Side The depth of Susan’s feelings for our school and its staff, the children and their families, knows no bounds. How many administrators do you know who can cry at a sensitive moment in time in front of all assembled? 4. Thou Shalt Find More Than 24 Hours in a Day When we said “good bye” at the end of our school day, there were more times than not that Susan would actually be there till night. Forget to bring something home with you? If you call the school number, there’s a good chance you’ll get Susan. 5. Thou Shalt Share Another’s Joy (and Sorrows) How did she manage to participate in so many of our after school simchas? If she could possibly be there, she was there---very few exceptions, no excuses. And how she enjoyed those happy times! Who can forget those fun times in our school when she wore those hilarious costumes that only Susan, dignified principal of a school, always meticulously dressed, could “pull off” much to the peals of laughter from our children and staff? Indeed, Susan could laugh, and cry, with the best of us. 6. Thou Shalt Be Exceedingly Smart One must marvel at the knowledge that Susan managed to gain. Not only did she know so much, but she was always growing in her knowledge. And that knowledge was always passed on to improve our staff and make them better professionals for the students or Kinney or Monroe Woodbury or East Ramapo or Medicaid.
31: 7. Thou Shalt Never Enjoy a Complete Vacation There were barely any times that Susan was not available to us. You might have to wait in line by her door, leave a note on the door or nab her in the hall, but you’d get her ear. And what about on vacations? Even when she was “out,” she was “in,” being accessible by phone. She’d call to check in on a regular basis to see if everything/everyone was okay or if something needed attention that just could not wait. And who of us cannot hear her say over the intercom to take home school work, just in case we have a snow day? While we weren’t “always on,” she was. 8. Thou Shalt Make Your Extended Family a High Priority Family it was. Her KJ family. Susan lived and breathed us—her children, her staff and her administrators. She happily announced over the intercom the successes of the children; she was anxious for each staff member to be the best he or she could and encouraged us along to that end. Susan had our best interest at heart as she advocated for us when decisions were made, even when decisions were beyond her ability to actualize. 9. Thou Shalt Know Everything at All Times I wonder how Susan always knew what was going on. There were few secrets from her, even when we attempted to keep things quiet. She was involved in all the doings, the comings and the goings of the staff and students, in and out of the classroom. 10. Thou Shalt Love 150% Last but not least, her love for our school and her hopes and dreams only grew stronger from the early Chemlu days through all the years at the public school. How can this love ever be repaid? By taking all that she taught us and continuing to incorporate it in our everyday work with the children she has loved, Susan will remain a daily, vibrant member of our KJ staff. And Susan, we will ask that you come visit us. Check up on the fruits of your labor and smile (and even cry) at the glorious legacy you leave behind today. There are no words to describe how we will miss you as the captain of our Kiryas Joel Union Free School District’s Public School. With respect, gratitude and love, Barbara Schulgasser and the social work staff
38: Thoughts from parents...
40: Dear Mrs. Gartenberg, Words can not do justice to my emotions. Irepidetion. Fear Uncertainty. Trust Faith. Pain Success. Failure.... You're been witness to much of that, and so many more.... We're come a long way since we're first met some three-four years ago, in that tiny conference room on Kahan Dr. The beginning was challenging, to say the least. In September of 2008, our dear Yanky, started attending a full day of preschool. We needed constant guidance and support as smooth as it was going. B"H you were there for us, to cushion the blows and disappointments: minor, and not so minor too. An entire six months a school had elapsed, when we finally got the cute little note in Yanky's communication book: Congratulation to Yanky for having completed his first full week of school, a good shabbos, Teacher Charny, dated 2/09. Fast forward three years.....Yanky 's B"H made an awful amount in school, and is being mainstreamed for a nice part of the day. Mrs. Gartenberg, the superb care and concern, signature of your expertise, has being guiding us. we are well aware of the emotion and devotion that had gone into planning Yanky's school days. His/our every need and request had been attended to. Be it nursing, therapy, academics, or even extra-curricular activities, we were always assured that you were looking after him. Oh yes, were there rocky moments, transitions to be made. it's been a long road indeed. Hakodush Baruch Hu, in his kindness, had not left us tread this path alone. It is your steadfast guiding force, flowered by empathy that we'd been blessed to receive in these passed few years your wonderful staff has but mirrored your uttermost devotion for each individual. Thank you, from the depths of my our hearts, for all you're done for us. You're presence and stamina will be missed. Sincerely, Mr. & Mrs. Berger, Parents of Yanky
43: For proper words of thanks, We are completely at loss, Not knowing where to begin And yet because – We do have a pure intent We will attempt these lines to fill, By trying until- Words we need to speak, Will eloquently be said, And to accept them graciously, please you will. Dearest Mrs. Gartenberg, As we journey through life, We face the unknown each day,Encountering much strife, Along the challenging way. But we found a special friend, Who was always present, With a listening ear to lend, Helping us heal and mend Mrs. Gartenberg it is you, The above description is about. We certainly always knew, That you are there reaching out During your daily activities there always was a pleasant atmosphere Even in physical darkness, there still exists an internal light Your understanding of another persons feelings, is an expertise so rare In your presence, one is taken to what seems an eternal height The most we can do is thank you in words, For everything on our behalf you’ve done, But Hashem alone who keeps a true account of ones good deed, Should repay you in abundance, for a good credit by him you’ve won Not only in monetary value, but by fulfilling your every need!! Best wishes The Polatsek Family (Lipa)