Eagle Hill’s Castro Set to Retire at End of School Year
By Richard Kaufman
After 13 years as the Superintendent of Schools for the Croton-Harmon School District in nearby Westchester County, Dr. Marjorie Castro decided to retire.
However, Castro was drawn back to work after learning about an opening for the Head of School position at Eagle Hill School, in Greenwich. Eagle Hill is an independent school for children ages 5-15 with language-based learning difficulties.
Fast forward 10 years, after providing strong leadership and helping Eagle Hill grow, Castro is now ready to retire for good at the end of this school year.
“I have been at Eagle Hill for 10 years, a decade of my professional life, and they are years I will always cherish. I felt the time had come for me to spend more time with my family,” Castro said, who noted that she’s had five grandchildren over her tenure at Eagle Hill.
She pointed to Eagle Hill’s stability, educationally, financially and facilities-wise as reasons why she decided that now is the right time to step away.
“We had completed a major building project that allowed us to renovate classrooms in two of our buildings, renovate our dining hall and dorms, and add an amazing community room which gave us the space needed to bring our entire school together,” Castro said.
Prior to her time at Eagle Hill and in Croton-Harmon, Castro was an Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in the Bedford Central School District, in Westchester. She spent 11 years in the Dobbs Ferry School District, first as principal of Springhurst Elementary school, and later as principal of Dobbs Ferry Middle School.
Castro has also been an adjunct professor in the Bank Street College of Education Future School Leaders Academy and the Columbia University Future School Administrators Academy. She said that, along with spending time with family and traveling, she’ll continue teaching at the college level and supervising prospective school leaders.
Castro added that her time at Eagle Hill has been a “tremendously rewarding and fulfilling professional experience,” and she credited the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff for being dedicated to the mission of the school.
“They are smart and committed to doing everything they can to sustain the school into the future,” Castro noted.
Castro acknowledged that she had hoped to head into retirement quietly. However, she was honored at the school’s annual benefit in April.
“I was overwhelmed by the benefit in my honor,” Castro said. “It turned out to be a night I will never forget. There were so many special people there: Eagle Hill faculty and staff, parents, alumni parents, Board Trustees, and even my administrative team and Board members from when I was Superintendent of Schools [in Westchester]. My whole family was there as well. The words of our Board Chair, Jeremy Henderson, and a touching video, the work of one of our Board Trustees, Sonja Bartlett, touched my heart.”
Looking back, Castro said one of her favorite accomplishments was the establishment of the Foundations Program, which is an early childhood program for children with special learning needs and/or who need a place to mature as students.
“The earlier we reach children who need a special approach, the greater chance we have of making them successful in school,” Castro said. “Many people worked with me to make this program a reality, and we are so proud of it. We started with one class and now have 3, with the possibility of 4 next year!”
Castro said she will miss the children the most, who often come back to visit the school after they’ve left and share their stories of success.
“They are intelligent children who just need to learn in different ways. I love their humor and warmth. I like to say that, at Eagle Hill, small miracles happen every day. Once our teachers gain their confidence, our students amaze us as they become successful learners,” Castro added.
“They go on to do so many amazing things and often come back to visit and to talk with the younger students about how Eagle Hill changed their lives. I will always remember these students and will dearly missing hearing their stories after they leave us. This is the true reward and meaning of our work at Eagle Hill, and I know that our teachers feel the same.”
In January, the Eagle Hill School Board of Trustees announced that Clay Kaufman will become the new Head of School, effective July 1.
Kaufman brings more than 34 years of independent school leadership to Eagle Hill, including the past 12 years as Co-head of School at The Siena School.
Prior to The Siena School, Kaufman was at The Field School, in Washington D.C., for 23 years, serving as the Director of Admissions and a math and history teacher. Kaufman has served on the Board of Trustees of The Sheridan School, in Washington, D.C.; as a Chair of the D.C. Alumni Schools Committee for Yale University; as Director of the Woodside Kids Chorale; and as President of the Yale Glee Club Board.