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Preston principal leaves a distinguished legacy

A new era will begin at Preston High School on July 1, as the school celebrates the successes of longtime principal Sr. Lucille Coldrick when she passes the educational torch on to her associate and friend Jane Grendell.

The changeover will officially occur on July 1, in time for the 2008-09 school year.

Working as Preston’s assistant principal of curriculum and teaching since September of 2006, Grendell said she feels prepared for the position because she’s learned from the best.

“She’s a fantastic example of what a school leader should be,” Grendell said about Coldrick’s deep, selfless commitment and outstanding academic leadership over her 17 years of service.

Grendell began her own educational career in California before moving east to accept a position in the English department at Preston in 1995.

She moved into the role of department chair in 1999, and has since climbed the academic ladder to assistant principal and now principal of the Catholic, college preparatory school for girls.

As Preston begins its 61st year of educating young women of the Bronx, Coldrick said she’s proud to have Grendell lead Preston into the future.

“She will enable the community to ‘go for the academic gold’ by maintaining focus, bringing her personal creativity to program and curriculum design, all reflective of her innate love of learning and appreciation of the academic culture and 21st century challenges,” Coldrick said.

Fully agreeing with the importance to constantly move forward, Grendell added, “I want to keep the educational program evolving so we stay current with the times.”

Coldrick said it’s also essential to embrace Preston’s strength as a unique educational facility for women.

“‘Confident women’ is a steady theme at Preston, and when I feel the collective energy and aspirations of these young women, I capture priceless memories,” Coldrick said.

Grendell maintained she also fully believes in and will consistently strive to maintain the school’s mission and Coldrick’s legacy through hard work and dedication.

“The challenge will be to build upon the strong base she’s established,” Grendell stated of her predecessor. “There’s tremendous respect for her and what she’s accomplished.”

While the challenge may sometimes seem daunting, Grendell applauds the school’s ability to maintain a positive work atmosphere.

“Preston is a really special school,” she commented. “It’s a very warm, inviting and supportive environment and it’s nice to be part of that.”

Grendell will make the transition from assistant principal to principal this summer and looks forward to welcoming the students back in the fall.  Coldrick is confident she will succeed.

“She believes in the potential of our students and that will also guide her decisions,” Coldrick said. “Add to her intelligence and high level of commitment, a wonderful humor and you have a win, win situation. Preston is blessed to have her leadership.”

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