Principal David Sondheim announces retirement

Ava Razavi

On Jan. 20, 2022, Principal David Sondheim sent an email out to the Redwood community announcing his retirement at the end of the 2022 school year. 

“With tremendous gratitude and quite a bit of sadness,” he wrote, “I want to share with you that I will be retiring at the end of this school year. I have been wonderfully fortunate to have been the principal of such an incredible school in such a supportive and giving community for the last 11 years.”

After 11 years in his position as Principal, Sondheim announces his retirement effective at the end of the year.

Administrative assistant to the principal Dina Craft describes a bittersweet feeling upon hearing the news. She wishes him well and supports his choice but is also saddened by the departure of her boss. 

“It’s a great but mixed feeling. I’m really happy for him; I think he deserves to enjoy the rest of his life doing exactly what he wants to do … and for him to be able to make this choice for himself and his family is great,” Craft said. “But personally, I’m really sad, and I’ll miss him very much.”

Junior Lucie Garbo is also disheartened by Sondheim’s announcement but looks forward to the changes that are to come with the incoming principal.

“I was a bit sad [when I heard about his retirement], but I am just hoping the new principal will be as great as Sondheim,” Garbo said. “I hope [the new principal] will continue the things that Sondheim has set in place and maintain his values and goals like his dedication to racial equality or mental health awareness through the Wellness Center”

Sondheim recognizes that now is the right time to end his journey as principal, and believes that the school is ready for administrative change.

“For me and my family, it’s the right time. We have activities we want to do — travel, recreation and some different things,” Sondheim said. “I also don’t think someone should be principal for 25 years at a time; [Redwood] needs change. I’ve come and done what I can, and it’s time for someone else to come and do what they can and hopefully succeed where I haven’t.” 

Working alongside his assistant Dina Craft for the past year, Sondheim expresses that he will miss their friendship when he retires.

Craft hopes new leadership will maintain Sondheim’s energy but will miss the unwavering optimism he expresses towards students and staff members. 

“I hope the new principal will have the same positive outlook that Sondheim has and continue to keep the school moving in the same forward direction that it has been,” Craft said. “I am going to miss his happy, positive greeting in the morning — with that same smile that you can see even with a mask — and the generous energy that he brings every day.”

Through 11 years of great lessons and experience, Sondheim imparts some advice to the incoming principal. 

“Talk to students as much as you possibly can, and find out what is going well and what still needs to be done. There’s no shortage of things that need work,” Sondheim said. “Be open to different types of change that might make us better … and work with others to make those changes.”