New leadership announced at Sussex Consortium

Trish Wilson named assistant principal as longtime educator Susan Berry retires
January 17, 2024

Dr. Trish Wilson has been named assistant principal at Sussex Consortium, taking the position of Susan Berry, who will retire March 1 after nearly 38 years with Cape Henlopen School District.

“No two years have ever been the same,” Berry said of her career, which began when she was hired right out of college as a speech pathologist in 1986, the first year of the district’s pre-K program.

Now, preschoolers comprise half the student population at Sussex Consortium on Sweetbriar Road, she said.

“Early intervention is a good thing because it gets them help needed before kindergarten,” she said. “That only helps everybody.”

Berry subsequently took a position as special education coordinator, assisting teachers develop IEPs that she also helped parents understand. Later, she was looking for a new challenge but didn’t want to leave Cape. When the assistant principal position opened, she took it.

“It’s the people and the kids that make the job,” she said. “You have to be a special person to work here, I think. We have people willing to go the extra mile for students and families.”

Berry said she is ready for the next chapter of her life, whatever it may bring. With her children in three different states, a fifth grandchild due in March and a husband who retired a year ago, plans call for traveling and reconnecting with loved ones. She said she wants to find a way to contribute to the local community as well.

“I can say I’ve certainly learned a lot from the staff, parents and students,” Berry said. “My hope is that I’ve taught half as much as I’ve learned.”

Berry said she is pleased that Wilson is taking over her role.

“She’s a hard worker, and she knows the law,” Berry said. 

A University of Delaware art history major, Wilson said she didn’t originally consider education for her career. After graduation, she learned the consortium needed paras, so she applied for the 2004-05 school year.

Wilson was a special education teacher/case manager from 2008-11, and again from 2013-18 after spending a year teaching in Florida. 

“It really showed me Cape does it right and has the best interests of kids at heart,” she said. “I’m never leaving again.”

In 2018, she was named a special education coordinator at Sussex Consortium, where she is a designee/district agency representative in IEP meetings, assists teachers and specialists with IEP development, assists team members in discussing students’ education plans with parents, and manages state testing accommodations.

The two educators have about two months to work together before Berry’s last day. Both say keeping up with student growth and maintaining a personal touch with students and families is a challenge, but involving parents with a committed team approach is something the program does well.

“I’m excited to follow in her footsteps and see what I can do to grow Cape and grow the consortium,” Wilson said.

“I do feel blessed to be leaving a job I loved,” Berry said.

“And I feel blessed I get to spend time with you before you do,” Wilson said.

Berry said she still fields calls and emails from parents seeking guidance for their children who have long since left the program. 

“Being the point of first contact does make a difference, and for that I’m satisfied,” she said. “Cape has allowed me to grow. They’ve shown their confidence and trust in me, and I don’t take that for granted.”


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