WAYNE, NJ – At the end of the school year, there are always some teachers and staff who retire and new faces are hired or promoted to fill empty roles. For this year, popular Principal Suzana Adamo decided to retire from her role at Albert Payson Terhune Elementary School and Nick Grimshaw will be stepping in starting in September. The second Principal joining Wayne Public Schools is not replacing anyone. Dr. Jessica Hammond will be starting as the first-ever Principal at the new Preakness Early Childhood Learning Center this fall
Dr. Jessica Hammond
The new Preakness Early Childhood Learning Center will act as the central preschool location for all enrolled Pre-K aged children for the Township. The school will provide an integrated program to accommodate children of all ability levels. Dr. Hammond is well-qualified to run this special new school. She has earned multiple degrees including Bachelors degrees in Early Childhood Education and Sociology as well as a Master’s degree in Special Education from Fitchburg State University. She also holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Johnson and Wales University.
“Dr. Hammond’s work in Wayne started on July 1, but her experience in early childhood education, special education, and educational leadership spans over twenty years at the state, local, and university level,” said Superintendent of Wayne Schools, Dr. Mark Toback. “She is uniquely qualified for this position and we are thrilled to have her join our administrative team.”
Her career began in her hometown of Leicester, Massachusetts as a preschool teacher of students with and without disabilities before serving as the Preschool Coordinator. Dr. Hammond spent the next six years of her career as an Early Childhood Center Principal in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island before moving to New Jersey where she implemented training and conducted research as Project Coordinator for the National Institute of Early Education Research. She also co-authored a white paper on Preschool Suspension and Expulsion Guidelines to assist with policy development and guidance in this area.
Prior to coming to Wayne, Dr. Hammond supported teachers and administrators as a Preschool Special Education Specialist and a New Jersey Tiered System of Supports Coach for the New Jersey Department of Education, and she currently teaches for both Purdue Global University and Rutgers University.
Teamwork, collaboration and fostering a growth mindset are the cornerstones of Dr. Hammond’s leadership style and she looks forward to opening the Preakness Early Childhood Center with great dedication and commitment to the success of both teachers and students. “As preschool is the gateway to the Wayne Public Schools, Dr. Hammond is focused on providing a high-quality early learning environment to prepare our youngest learners for their educational careers in Wayne,” added Toback.
Dr. Hammond can often be found in a hockey rink with her husband Todd, cheering on their sons, Zachary and Maverick.
Grimshaw has been an administrator at Anthony Wayne Middle School for three and a half years, and will be relinquishing his role as Assistant Principal to take on this new role at APT. The new Principal graduated from Hobart College with a Bachelor’s degree and then went on to The College of Saint Elizabeth where he earned a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. From there, his career began as a Social Studies teacher in the Ridgewood school District before moving being hired by the Summit School District to be an Assistant Principal of Student Affairs at the Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School. Wayne hired him over three years ago and has now promoted him to Principal.
“We knew when Mrs. Adamo decided to retire from her position as APT Principal that we were in for a challenge with finding a candidate that would be able to immediately step in and continue her outstanding work,” said Toback. “We know Mr. Grimshaw is up to this significant professional challenge.”
“I hope to create opportunities for students and staff to find their passion and pursue their curiosity, setting the foundation for a successful lifetime of learning,” said Grimshaw, who added that his goal is to continue to create an inclusive school climate where students of all abilities are embraced for their passions and interests. He hopes to foster a community of empathetic and caring students who celebrate learning, new friendships, and being a part of the A. P. Terhune family.
When not at school, Mr. Grimshaw enjoys spending time with his seven-year-old daughter, Molly. They enjoy cooking, fishing, watching Syracuse Basketball games, riding bikes, and spending time at the beach.