Dr. Garine Palandjian

St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School Appoints New Head of School

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WATERTOWN — The Board of Directors of St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School (SSAES), New England’s only Armenian Elementary School, is pleased to announce the appointment of Garine Palandjian, Ph.D., as its new Head of School.

Dr. Palandjian is an experienced educator with extensive experience in both the United States and Armenia. Her appointment, effective July 10, 2023, comes after a year-long comprehensive, worldwide search. A native of Rhode Island, Palandjian follows in the footsteps of Principal Houry Boyamian, M.Ed., who announced her retirement in the spring of 2022 after having served as principal for over 35 years.

Palandjian currently serves as a postdoctoral fellow at the Arizona State University (ASU) Melikian Center and faculty associate at ASU Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. She completed her PhD at Arizona State University in Education Policy and Evaluation in 2022.

“The search committee was particularly impressed by both Dr. Palandjian’s knowledge and innovative perspective to the field of education, as well as her passion for the Armenian community,” said Michael Guzelian, chair of the Board of Directors as well as the search committee. “We are excited to have her lead our school to the next level of success.”

Prior to completing her PhD, she spent upwards of 15 years working as an educator in both the US and Armenia. Her US experiences include teaching Language Arts and Social Studies on the elementary level at both the Vahan and Anoush Chamlian and Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian Schools in California. At the American University of Armenia, she established the Center for Student Success, which offered a variety of support services including counseling, disability support, and peer mentoring.

“Building upon the incredible legacy of our retiring principal, Houry Boyamian, we are excited to see Dr. Palandjian elevate the school’s successes and lead it into the future,” said Archpriest Antranig Baljian, pastor, St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church of Greater Boston, sponsor of SSAES.

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Growing up in Rhode Island, Garine actively participated in various programs and activities in the Providence Armenian community. After graduating from the Mourad Armenian Saturday and Sunday School at Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church, Garine returned as an alumnus, establishing the early stages of her teaching career.

She went on to pursue a teacher training program at Rhode Island College, moved to California to complete her student teaching practicum and taught in the Armenian schools. Her passion for Armenian education led her to pursue several research projects and fieldwork in Armenia which included focusing on post-Soviet transformations in education, peace education, inclusive education, national identity, textbook studies, and pedagogical practices.

In 2019-2020, Garine conducted her dissertation fieldwork on pedagogical practices of Armenian borders and identity in Yerevan, and the border villages of Shirak and Tavush, as well as one month in the Istanbul Armenian community. The Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) Eurasia Special Interest Group recently honored her dissertation with a best dissertation award at the annual CIES conference in Washington, DC.

Garine has published in peer-reviewed journals and edited books on various focuses of Armenian childhood and education and contributed to theorizing pedagogical practices. Recently, Garine was invited by the editor of the Texts and Studies in Armenian History, Society and Culture series of the University of Michigan Press to publish her dissertation as a book.

“I am both honored and humbled by this once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to serve the Armenian community and guide New England’s only Armenian elementary school to new heights,” said Palandjian. “I am looking forward to meeting our students and families, our dedicated teachers and staff, and the community.”

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