Ridgefield names principal at Veterans Park Elementary School: 'Such a special place'

RIDGEFIELD — Veterans Park Elementary School has appointed one of its own as principal.

Sheri Prendergast, who served as the school's interim principal since the start of the school year, was named principal by Ridgefield Public Schools on Friday morning at a special Board of Education meeting. 

“When I started in August as the interim principal at VP, there was a common message that was shared with me during those first few days from students, families, staff, community members and district administration: VP is such a special place. During my short tenure here, I now understand the meaning behind those simple words," Prendergast said in a statement from Ridgefield Public Schools.

"Veterans Park is filled with amazing students, supportive families, and an exceptional staff who truly embodies our school motto, Work Hard Be Kind. I feel honored to officially be part of this community," Prendergast added.

In the statement, Schools Superintendent Susie Da Silva said, “What I think is most telling about Dr. Prendergast’s leadership is that most of us forgot that she was an interim. She took on this role as if she was a permanent principal, and devoted herself to the community, students and teachers every single day.”

The district said it made the announcement after the special Board of Education meeting so all the elementary school principals could be on hand to celebrate.

“We are so lucky to have her join the team,” Assistant Superintendent Cory Gillette said in the statement about Prendergast. 

In a joint statement, Veterans Park PTA Co-Presidents Meghan Raymond and Meg Whitbeck said, “Since Dr. Prendergast has joined the VPES community, we have seen an uptick in energy, positivity and involvement from not just Dr. Prendergast but all of the staff at VPES. It is a pleasure to work with Dr. Prendergast as we plan and implement enrichment programs, educational activities and community-building events at VPES. This is a woman who is clearly dedicated to her students, faculty and staff.”

Before going to Ridgefield Public Schools, Prendergast spent the past eight years in the Danbury Public Schools, where she worked for five years as an assistant principal at Broadview Middle School, including filling in as principal during an unexpected leave. She was also the STEM leader in Danbury and taught math in public and magnet schools in New York.

She graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a master’s degree and received an administrator certificate through Manhattan College. She  recently earned a doctorate of education from Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. She was a Teach For America corps member, selected from over 13,000 applicants to teach in underserved urban schools.