• Ms. Cucu, Interim Principal

    Hello, Thurston Community, 

    I write to you humbled and honored to be working in partnership with you as the Interim Principal of Thurston Elementary School. Each learning community is unique in its own way. The care, passion, and love of the community have been shared with me, and I am thrilled to be able to be here with you!

    This coming school year will mark my 21st year in public education. My education includes Eastern Michigan University (B.S. in Elementary Education) and Concordia University (M.S. in Educational Leadership). My experiences in before and after-school childcare, as a special education paraprofessional, as an English Language Arts teacher, as an intervention specialist, and as an assistant principal have allowed me to gain insight and perspective surrounding the varied needs of a school community. Furthermore, my work on the district SEL and Wellness Committee during the COVID pandemic and my current work on the district MTSS-SEL Committee have been passions of mine.

    My leadership focus is on the social-emotional health and wellness of students and cultivating inclusive, equitable environments. The philosophy that the grown-ups in a child’s life are critical partners and that each child must feel seen, heard, and not only understood but empathized with has led my work. It is my mission to affirm and value the cultural identity of each child. This provides a learning environment where students can feel comfortable as risk-takers, are able to express themselves each day, and can meet the high expectations that they set for themselves.

    On a personal note, the Ann Arbor Community is near and dear to me, as I am a member myself. My partner, Alin, and I have been residents of Ann Arbor for the last twelve years. Alin enjoys creating and repairing items that some would consider long forgotten, such as his old pickup truck. I enjoy tending to my freshwater fish tank and the many houseplants I have. We both enjoy spending quality time with our second grader, Calin. As a family, we love gardening and traveling to visit new places and visit with family and friends.

    I look forward to working with students, staff, parents, and each member of the community to continue to provide children with the opportunity to grow in their enthusiasm for learning and life, exploration of their interests, and understanding of the world around us with a caring and reflective outlook.

    Warmest Regards,

    Samantha Cucu