Principal Pugh's Message

Principal Samantha Pugh
Dear Merrick Families,

I hope that this communication finds you well and safe. It is with the deepest sadness that we inform you of the passing of our fourth-grade teacher, Ms. Gabrielle Gayle. Ms. Gayle has been a well-loved and respected Merrick Team and Family member since 2017. She was in the hospital fighting complications from COVID-19 for several weeks and last night she peacefully lost that battle. Though Ms. Gayle was a fourth-grade teacher, she has touched many lives in our Merrick community.  Losing such a talented, compassionate, and hardworking teacher is a devastating blow to our Merrick community and Ms. Gayle will be sorely missed.

This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our entire school community, especially our students. Merrick is currently mobilizing a Crisis Intervention Team made up of professionals trained to help with the needs of students, parents, and school personnel. This team will be working to put together a crisis response plan that will support our school community during this difficult time; prioritizing the children, families, and staff members of the fourth and fifth grade as those were the grades that Ms. Gayle has had the closest relationships with. In the next 24 to 48 hours, we will deploy a team to work with us virtually as we go through the grieving and healing process. We are working to have counselors and counseling times available for any student who may need or want help or any type of assistance surrounding this loss. We encourage you, as parents, to use these resources as well.

We will post information on our website that may be useful to you in helping your child at home. We will also post updates as we finalize our support plans and we will post any other additional information pertaining to as it comes available. If you would like additional information or need assistance, please do not hesitate to send a message to

All live or teacher lead instruction will be suspended until Wednesday, April 29th. In the meantime, as we take this pause, students can continue to work on IReady, Raz Kids, and NewsELA at their own pace. Your child’s teacher will communicate to you if anything changes in instruction or meeting times.

We are saddened by the loss to our school community and will make every effort to help you and your child as you need.  We will get through this together!

Merrick Strong and Lion Proud!

In continued partnership,

Principal Pugh