New principals leading Eastland Middle School and Huron Park Elementary

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 10, 2019

 Monica Gabriel is the new principal at Eastland Middle School in Roseville.

Monica Gabriel is the new principal at Eastland Middle School in Roseville.

Photos provided by Roseville Community Schools

 Donna Ambrose is the new principal at Huron Park Elementary School in Roseville.

Donna Ambrose is the new principal at Huron Park Elementary School in Roseville.

Donna Ambrose is the new principal at Huron Park Elementary School in Roseville.

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ROSEVILLE — Roseville Community Schools welcomed its students back Sept. 3. When they arrived, some were greeted by two new principals taking over leadership at their respective schools. 

Monica Gabriel is the new principal at Eastland Middle School, while Donna Ambrose has taken the reins at Huron Park Elementary School. 

Gabriel had been an assistant principal at Roseville High School for the past seven years. Before that, she was in the classroom for six years, teaching eighth and ninth grade English and special education English. 

“I started at Roseville Middle School teaching English,” she said. “I moved to the high school when (the students) did and taught special education English as well. I was assistant principal at the high school as well.”

Ambrose has spent the last five years as assistant principal at Roseville Middle School. Before that, she taught band, choir and general music throughout the district, to grades K-12, for 18 years. Previously, she was also the band director in the Owendale-Gagetown Area School District in the Thumb region.

Both educators look forward to settling into their new roles.

“I’ve been in this community for a long time, and I think I have a solid understanding of the kids and the communities and the teachers, and I bring a lot of energy and excitement to the table,” said Gabriel. “So far, the staff here has been awesome. I think we will do a lot of great things here.”

“Huron Park wanted an administrator who had experience and was familiar with the students and community,” added Ambrose. “Being a longtime employee in Roseville and having experience teaching at every level, I know a lot of the community. I know the parents, I know a lot of the kids and so forth. I think I have an edge having worked at the middle school because we got a lot of kids from Huron Park.”

Both said their first priorities are getting to know their new roles and becoming more familiar with the staff and families, as well as their respective needs.

“I want to get to know the kids and get to know the staff and form solid relationships with them. I want to build a dialogue with parents and families. I want to work with the staff to prepare the students for high school and find ways to support them along the way,” said Gabriel. “The middle school staff is a smaller staff, and they have done a good job working together to meet the needs of the kids, and I want to continue to develop that.”

“I really want to get to know the curriculum and the staff,” said Ambrose. “I want to build relationships with the staff and students and get a good feel for how all the programs work. I don’t want to make any huge sweeping changes until I see how things are running.”

Although they both said they want to gather more information before instituting any major changes at their schools, both said there are clear goals and challenges to meet right off the bat.

“I want to make sure everyone is on the same page so they know how to (be ready for high school). All the eighth graders, for instance, are getting the same experiences to make sure all the students are getting reached and worked with,” said Gabriel. “In addition to preparing them for high school, we want to make sure we are meeting their social and emotional needs. I want to build relationships, and help the students build relationships, so our students are getting all the connections they need.”

“The state asks us to do a lot of testing, and that is a challenge to make sure we are reaching each and every student. That’s both a challenge and opportunity in my eyes,” added Ambrose. “I want to make sure the community is strong and we have a good relationship with parents and community members. I want people to feel welcome here, and students and parents to feel engaged.”

Gabriel expressed her solidarity with families and hopes to make sure Eastland Middle School remains a place to be proud of.

“I’m committed to the kids here, and committed to parents,” remarked Gabriel. “I’m a mom, so I understand the responsibility we have, and I take the responsibility that parents are trusting us with their kids. I want to have a school I would want to send my own kids to.”

Ambrose said it has been a swift and exciting transition, but she is looking forward to knowing the people of her new school — both children and adults — better.

“I just got remarried in May, so I had a personal transition and then I accepted the job also in May, so it’s been a whirlwind,” she said. “I have an open door and I look forward to meeting with parents. I hope to have strong parent involvement so we can accomplish that goal of making people feel welcome and engaged here at Huron Park.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.

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