Anna Gonzalez Kosek, the Princeton Regional Schools assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction and a former principal at the Littlebrook School, is retiring as of June 30.
Kosek announced her plans to retire on April 24, capping a 41-year career as a teacher and administrator. Her announcement follows on the heels of Superintendent of Schools Steve Cochrane’s planned retirement, which also takes effect June 30.
The Princeton Public Schools Board of Education now must launch a search for Kosek’s successor, in addition to finding a new superintendent of schools. The school board expects to hire an interim superintendent of schools who will be in place July 1, while it begins its search for a permanent superintendent of schools.
The outgoing assistant superintendent said she had decided in August 2019 to retire at the end of the 2020-21 school year, after much reflection on what has been “a long and rewarding 41-year career” in education.
Kosek said her plans to retire were unrelated to Cochrane’s decision to retire, which was announced in February. The COVID-19 pandemic, which emerged in March, also did not play a role in her decision to retire, she said.
Kosek came to the Princeton Public Schools in 2003 as the principal of the Littlebrook School. After serving as the principal for 14 years, she was named the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in 2017.
The veteran educator began her career as an elementary school teacher in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District. She was a K-12 staff developer and a K-8 supervisor of language arts in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District before moving to the Princeton Public Schools.
“I am grateful to be able to say with the deepest sincerity that I have loved every minute of the past 17 years as both principal of the Littlebrook School and as an assistant superintendent. I hope to continue to work in public or higher education in some capacity,” Kosek said.
“I know the retirement of both the superintendent and the assistant superintendent poses quite a challenge for a district, even without being in the middle of imposed distance teaching and learning,” Kosek wrote in an April 23 letter to the Princeton Public Schools staff. “We are certainly forging new ground these days, and doing it successfully because of the very solid ground we are on as a district.”
Kosek was referring to the school district’s move to online learning, in the wake of Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order to close the school buildings statewide to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in March. The school buildings will be closed through at least May 15.
Cochrane and school board president Beth Behrend praised Kosek.
“Annie is one of the most outstanding educators with whom I have ever worked. Her efforts are collaborative. She listens and she leads,” Cochrane said.
Putting into place a remote learning program for the entire district during a global pandemic “may be the culmination of Annie’s career at the Princeton Public Schools, but it is only part of what she has accomplished in her three years as assistant superintendent,” Cochrane said.
Under her leadership, Cochrane said, the district revised the elementary school report card, created a “summer academy” for professional development by teachers for teachers, and put into place a new school-wide enrichment program.
Behrend, the school board president, said the district is grateful to Kosek for ensuring that the curriculum offers students “a rich and challenging learning experience, consistent with the best practices and 21st century standards for teaching and learning.”
“Annie’s intellect, her professionalism, her warmth and ability to work well with teachers and staff has served the district well. She has been a respected and popular administrator during her entire tenure,” Behrend said. “We are sincerely sad to see such an accomplished educator like Annie retire.”