Meet the New Elementary Principal

Meet the New Elementary Principal

The same week Silver Creek appointed a new elementary principal, the school district also announced its indefinite closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It wasn’t the start Sterling R. Stearns, or any of the Black Knight family, had imagined in March 2020. So the Fredonia resident, who has worked in various roles in education since 2004, stayed on as the Fredonia High School assistant high school principal through the spring of 2020 to assist with the transition to remote learning and help with end-of-year traditions, among other duties. But Silver Creek was never far from his mind.

“My excitement at joining Silver Creek was not dampened by the worldwide pandemic,” says Mr. Stearns. “We all knew it was best to stay put at Fredonia to support my Hillbilly family through this ongoing crisis. Joining Silver Creek this summer, during such a period of transition, has felt like a fresh start and also a huge learning experience. I’m looking forward to helping staff and students navigate the future together.” 

Mr. Sterling Stearns replaces interim SCES Principal Delia Bonenberger, who assumed the helm after Merrie Maxon joined Eden Central School District mid-way through the 2019-2020 academic year.

“I’m grateful to Mrs. Bonenberger for once again helping Silver Creek with this leadership transition,” said Superintendent Todd A. Crandall. “It’s a pleasure to welcome Mr. Stearns to our Black Knight family. The board and I are confident he is a great fit for our district and believe he will lead and guide the elementary school in a dynamic and inclusive fashion.”

Stearns, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brockport State and a master’s degree in school counseling from University at Buffalo, began his career as an elementary counselor at Fredonia Central School District, where he worked from 2004 to 2009. He moved to the same role at Southwestern Elementary School in 2009 before transitioning to a high school counselor and alternative learning program coordinator. 

“I am committed to supporting all our students and Black Knight families through this unique and impactful experience,” says Stearns. “My background in counseling and social emotional learning helps inform our approach during this pandemic.”

In 2013, Stearns was appointed assistant principal at Maple Grove Middle/High School then returned to Fredonia Elementary, where he was assistant principal from 2015 to 2019 and spent a year as Universal Pre-Kindergarten director before being named assistant principal at Fredonia High. Additionally, he holds a permanent state certification for K-12 school counseling and certification for school building leader from St. Bonaventure University. He expects to earn his school district leader certification in 2020, also from St. Bonaventure. 

 “I believe that flexibility and fostering open lines of communication are key to helping navigate the current evolving nature of education during a pandemic,” says Sterling. “It will help us tap our strengths and guide us in collaborating with others for the sake of our Silver Creek students and families.”