Holden promoted to principal of Pelham Oaks

PELHAM – At the start of the new year, Pelham Oaks Elementary will have a new principal.

At a Pelham Board of Education meeting on Monday, Oct. 28, Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield announced that current assistant principal Chase Holden will be the school’s new principal. Holden will assume his role as principal on Jan. 1, 2020. Current principal Deberah Miller is set to retire this school year. Her last day on the job will be Jan. 31, 2020.

Miller and Holden will to work together over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition for the school.

Holden has been assistant principal at the school for 4.5 years. He said he’s excited to be stepping in as principal.

“I love this school and this community, so this is a dream come true,” he said. “I’ve really gotten to know the staff, students and parents as well. I’m looking forward to continuing this culture of excellence.”

Holden said Miller has been a great role model for him over the years.

“I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand what she’s done for the school and I’m looking forward to continuing what she’s started,” Holden said.

After more than 28 years as an educator, Miller said deciding to retire was very difficult. She started working for Pelham City Schools six years ago when the district was first established. She was the principal at Valley Elementary when it closed and two elementary schools were created – Pelham Oaks and Pelham Ridge.

“Very few people get to leave a job that they still very dearly love,” she said. “We are truly a family so this was a hard decision to make. I still get up every day loving my job.”

Miller said she decided to retire so that she can spend more time with her family. After retirement, she plans to travel with her husband, go hiking, visit some of the nation’s national parks and spend more time with her children and grandchildren.

Miller said Holden’s appointment as principal makes it easier for her to leave.

“I’m ecstatic about the choice of new principal,” she said. “Knowing that the school will be in good hands brings me comfort as I prepare to leave.”

In other business, the board:

-Approved the purchase of lockers for Pelham Park Middle School’s band program.

-Approved interior improvements at Pelham Oaks, with costs not to exceed $7,500.