Riverside Elementary School principal steps down

Riverside Elementary School Principal Mark Shelley. File photo.

Mark Shelley, the principal at Riverside Elementary School since 2018, is leaving the district in August and relocating to Pittsburgh.

School district officials are in the process of interviewing candidates.

“We are looking for a principal who not only has a record of educational excellence but who also understands Princeton’s commitment to equity and the unique programs provided for students at Riverside,” Superintendent Carol Kelley said.

Semi-finalist candidates will be interviewed by an advisory committee comprised of Riverside faculty and staff, district administrators, and community members. Committee members include educators with experience and expertise in special education. The advisory committee will submit finalists to Kelley, who will then have candidates visit Riverside’s summer programs. After finalists see Riverside students in action, Kelley will interview individual candidates and make a recommendation to the school board.

There will be a gap in time between Shelley’s departure and the hiring of a new principal. During that time, Eric Csolak, district supervisor of student services for grades preK through 5, will be the acting administrator at Riverside. He will also assist the new principal during the transition period.

Shelley’s wife recently accepted a job as the senior pastor at Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. Shelley will become the executive director for academics for grades 6-12 at a charter school in Pittsburgh.

“We have treasured our life and work in Princeton for the past twelve years, and I will surely miss our students, our teachers, our support staff, and our parents,” Shelley said in a recent letter to parents. “I certainly hope to visit and to hear of the many successes – individual and collective – that lay ahead for our Riverside students.” 

Bill Cirullo, who died in February 2016, was principal of Riverside for 30 years. Long-time music teacher Paul Chapin served as acting principal for more than a year. Valerie Ulrich was named principal in 2016 and then accepted a district administrative position in 2018 Ulrich was recently named the supervisor of preschool and special projects for the district. Shelley became principal in September 2018, after having served as supervisor of humanities at Princeton High School.