Principal of Guggenheim Elementary to retire at end of school year

Principal of Guggenheim Elementary to retire at end of school year
Guggenheim Elementary School principal Barbara Giebel, pictured here in blue, is to retire at the end of the school year. (Photo courtesy of Diana Berrent Photography)

Barbara Giebel, principal of Guggenheim Elementary School in Port Washington, will retire at the end of the school year.

Giebel, 67, has been an educator since 1973 and has been employed at Guggenheim since 1993.

Before becoming principal of the school in 2004, Giebel worked as a classroom teacher, a reading teacher and a reading recovery specialist.

In an interview, Giebel cited family reasons for retiring. She would like to spend more time with her grandchildren and has been taking care of her ill mother.

“It was time,” she said.

Giebel said she looks forward to figuring out “what she wants to do when she grows up” because she has always been in school. She plans to continue learning throughout her retirement and has a lot more she would like to accomplish.

She said her favorite part of being principal of Guggenheim is watching the students grow from when they come into the school as kindergarteners and see them shape into the people they are growing up to be around the fourth grade.

Another special moment for her is when she witnesses that “light bulb moment” when a student who has been having difficulty with a subject figures it out.

When Giebel became principal in 2004, she said, she had an advantage because she knew the teachers who were going to be a part of her staff and respected them as educators.

She said she really worked to lessen the divide between teachers and administrators and  facilitate an environment where they all looked at each other as educators who worked for the betterment of the students.

Giebel discussed the school’s four self-contained classrooms for students with learning disabilities and how they contribute to the school’s warm environment.

She called a recent observation that was brought to her attention “the icing on the cake,” when someone commended the empathy Guggenheim students exhibited to students in the self-contained classrooms that differed than other schools in the district.

“We are welcoming to everybody here,” Giebel said.

“While Mrs. Giebel’s presence will be missed, her achievements throughout these 26 years will ensure that she will not be forgotten anytime soon,” Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Mooney said in a statement. “I wish her all the best and hope she has nothing but wonderful, new adventures in retirement.” 

The Board of Education approved her resignation for the purposes of retirement at the meeting on Tuesday night.

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