MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - The Mount Vernon Board of Education is turning to a seasoned educator who has a history of turning around struggling schools to take the reigns at Grimes Elementary.
On Thursday, the district announced that Erik Van Gunten, who previously served as assistant principal at PS 16 and PS 83 in Manhattan, has been named as the new principal at Grimes Elementary School, replacing interim Principal Alan Gonzalez.
While he was serving as Dean at PS 83, the school won the 2009 “Dispelling the Myth Award,” which is given by the Education Trust to five schools in the country that have shown success in educating low-income and minority students.
Van Gunten said that when he takes over, it’ll be a team effort between his administration, the staff and community to get Grimes to the level parents and students should expect from their local elementary school.
“I cannot wait to get to know our talented students and their supportive families,” he said. “I like to use art and sports to motivate students to thrive in school. I believe in the growth mindset. Every child can succeed, no matter what.
“Teachers need to be open to learning and growing as professionals. My teachers believe that each child can grow, can progress and learn. With everyone having that mindset, it will lead to a positive change.”
Upon announcing Van Gunten’s hiring, Mount Vernon Schools Superintendent Hamilton said that the new principal will work alongside district officials to implement the “20/20 Vision” that was implemented last year.
“We are thrilled to have Van Gunten joining our team,” he said in a statement. “His leadership experience in New York City schools will be a huge asset as we continue working to bring excellence and accountability back to the Mount Vernon School District.”