School Division announces leadership changes for 2020-2021 school year

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Marcus Crowder

Salem Superintendent, Dr. Alan Seibert, recently announced that the members of the Salem School Board formally approved three appointments during the division’s meeting.

Michelle Palleria will continue as the Assistant Principal at G.W. Carver Elementary, but now without her interim title. Marcus Crowder will move into administration as the Assistant Principal at West Salem Elementary and the versatile Sara Epperly will return to lead the English Learner and Preschool programs for the division.

Epperly, who is taking this current school year off to be with her young children and work on her doctorate, has served the division as an assistant principal at both Andrew Lewis Middle and G.W. Carver Elementary. She graduated from Salem High School in 2001 and then earned three degrees from the University of Virginia. Epperly is proficient in both Mandarin and Spanish and she has taught in China, Bangladesh and Charlottesville. She also has worked with students and adults in Poland, Argentina and New Orleans.

Michelle Palleria

“Focused coordination of Preschool and English Learner programs will yield better educational experiences for deserving children and families in our community,” says Epperly. “I am proud to be part of a school division that prioritizes growth and service in these emergent areas of public education. I look forward to applying my experience, skill and passion to this work.”

The number of English Learners in Salem City Schools has increased 352 percent since the 2006-2007 school year. Epperly will teach students at Salem High School and provide leadership to programs across all grade levels as the Coordinator of Preschool and English Learner programs.

“Both the Virginia House and Senate budgets include investments in Preschool and English Learner programs to accompany new staffing requirements statewide,” says Seibert. “We are fortunate to have someone with Ms. Epperly’s skill set and passion overseeing these areas for our families.”

Epperly’s new role will allow Palleria to remain at G.W. Carver as the school’s assistant principal. Before moving into her current administrative role, Palleria taught 4th grade for 20 years at Carver. She earned her bachelor’s from Virginia Tech and her master’s from the University of Scranton after graduating from Salem High School. Her husband, Bob, is a teacher at Andrew Lewis.

Sara Epperly

“For anyone who has had the privilege of being part of Carver, they know what a special place it is,” says Palleria. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of the Carver Family for 21 years, and I am honored to continue to serve our students and faculty.”

Crowder will move into administration at West Salem Elementary after making his mark as a third-grade teacher at East Salem for the past six years. In 2018, he was named East’s Teacher of the Year by his peers.

“I am thankful for my time at East Salem Elementary, where I have been fortunate to work with such a talented staff, an amazing group of students and so many wonderful families,” says Crowder. “The school and the community inspired me every day.”

Crowder is an Augusta County native who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from James Madison University. In many ways, he is carrying on the family tradition in the Crowder household. Both of his parents are lifelong educators and his wife, Katie, is a teacher at South Salem Elementary.

“I am excited for this new opportunity and I look forward to working with and getting to know the staff, students and families of the West Salem community,” says Crowder. “I am eager to learn and work with the teachers and staff on a day-to-day basis to create a positive school environment where students leave inspired to make a difference in our world.”

All three appointments will take effect on July 1, 2020.

 

  • Submitted by Mike Stevens, City of Salem Communications Director