Ross School Principal Ryan Gaskill.

MARGATE – First-year Principal Ryan Gaskill is no stranger to the William H. Ross School. Gaskill, who replaced Michelle Carney-Ray Yoder as the school’s educational leader on July 1, knows most of the teachers, and as a Margate resident, many of the parents and their children.

“My two daughters went through the schools here. One is in eighth grade and the other is in sixth grade, so I have been connected to the school community for a while,” he said in his office Monday, Aug. 27. “When I heard Michelle Carney-Ray Yoder was leaving to become the superintendent of the Somers Point School District, I thought this would be a great opportunity for me.”

Gaskill, 41, who taught social studies at Atlantic City High School for 12 years, and at the Pleasantville High School and elementary school before that, survived several rounds of interviews with Tighe Middle School Principal Audrey Becker, Curriculum Coordinator Loreen Cohen, teachers, board members and Interim Superintendent Thomas Baruffi to be selected as the school’s new educational leader. He will go through a formal two-year mentorship with Susan Speirs, who is principal at Linwood’s middle school.

Gaskill said he will be participating in a small group cohort along with other new administrative staffers, and that Speirs will collaborate and evaluate his progress before he receives a principal’s certificate.

As the newest member of the administrative team in the Margate school district, he will work closely with Becker and Cohen.

“We will constantly be evaluating ways to do things better,” he said.

Library teacher Amy Hughes shares a few interesting titles with new Principal Ryan Gaskill.

He said he is excited to be working with the staff at Ross School.

“The teachers here are great. I know most of them because my kids went to school here, and I was always happy with the teachers they had,” he said. “They are already here getting their classrooms ready for the new year. They all what to do what’s best for the kids of Margate.”

Gaskill said he would “support their great ideas and help them be creative in engaging their students.”

A former member of the Ventnor Beach Patrol and a swimmer in high school, Gaskill continues to blow a whistle at the Pleasantville Aquatic Club, coaching 10-12-year-olds. He also coached the ACHS Girls Swim Team.

“From coaching and being in a classroom, I recognize that everyone is a little different. People can’t be led, coached or managed the same way. I hope to instill that in the staff and treat students as individuals,” he said.

It’s likely the students will be rocking and rolling throughout the school year, he said.

The school’s Renaissance Team came up with a Rock & Roll theme for the school’s character education program this year.

“It’s an anacronym that stands for the qualities we want to instill in the students – responsible, organized, cooperative, kind, safe, trustworthy, accountable and respectful,” he said.

“They will be recognizing students throughout the year who reflect those character traits. They’ll tie it into Rock & Roll music,” he said.

New Principal Ryan Gaskill welcomes a new student to the Ross School.

He recently remarked to his wife Rachel, a dance teacher at Oakcrest High School, that this is the first year he has not had any apprehension about starting a new school year.

“As a teacher I always experienced anxiety starting the school year. I had no end-of-summer stress this year,” he said.

Instead, he is excited to meet students and work with their parents.

“I’m looking forward to being part of the community,” he said.

Gaskill said his experiences working in outside sales in New York City earlier in his career will help him in his new role as principal.

“I learned a lot about leadership and being driven. Those lessons impacted me for a lifetime,” he said.

He said he enjoys the challenge of learning new things and being put into new situations.

“I thrive in learning new things. I will always be a lifelong learner. I’m living the theory of education – continuing to learn and grow.”

Teachers will report to school on Tuesday, Sept. 4, with students starting Thursday, Sept. 6 with two half-days. The Margate Education Foundation will treat kindergarteners to an ice cream social 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4.

The kindergarten class is small this year with 19 students in two sections, he said. There are two sections of first through third grades with 37, 28 and 33 students respectively. There are three sections of fourth grade, which has 44 students. Staffing will be the same as last year, he said.

Categories: Margate

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.