On the morning of Friday October 7, 2022, Riverside students and faculty were surprised to hear that it would be Chaudra Clay’s last day serving as an assistant principal after a twelve year long career at Riverside. She is now principal of the School of Creative Studies.
This announcement shocked the Riverside community. When Hook staff went to talk with students and staff about Clay’s departure, they were all eager to share their positive experiences.
“I am definitely going to miss seeing [Clay] in the hallways at Riverside for this new and exciting opportunity,” said English teacher Emily Ericson. “It truly is a testament to how hard she worked and what kind of a leader she is.”
“She’s one of the main reasons I am even at Riverside,” said EC teacher and head football coach Cory Lea. “She has been here forever and really epitomizes what a Pirate is, what our culture is, and what our school community is.”
“I am sad for us as a school,” English teacher Mira Prater said. “she’s got such institutional knowledge that our admin team does not have anymore, but I am excited for her.”
As we interviewed numerous students and faculty members, everyone shared the same message: “We love you, Ms. Clay, and we will miss you.”
In her many years at Riverside, she has worked with thousands of students and hundreds of teachers. Her commitment and dedication to Riverside showed through her hard work planning prom, her patience with students and their issues, and positive attitude towards the community, regardless of the situation.
However, Clay’s departure means more than just losing an exceptional assistant principal. Clay is the last of the “pre-COVID” administrators, and without her, administration loses the extensive knowledge of the school that she brought to the leadership team.
As Riverside’s longest serving administrator, students and staff feel anxious of the future without admins who have been committed to the school for many years. This year is an important year of rebuilding and restructuring in a post-COVID academic world, and with our last tie to the previous administration severed, our future looks more uncertain. Decisions made by administration like restricting lunch leave to the first 15 minutes of lunch, the brief removal of SMART lunch, and restricting entry to the building in the morning, leave both Riverside students and staff apprehensive. Policies like these need a deep understanding of our school, and no one knew this place better than Ms. Clay.
We will miss her generous dedication to planning school events like Senior Fest, Prom, and faculty holiday parties.
Even though we will miss Ms. Clay and her dedication to Riverside, we welcome new administrators, including interim assistant principal Elton O’Neal, and are excited for her opportunity to lead her own school.