New Head O' Meadow Principal Preparing For 2010-2011
New Head Oâ Meadow Principal Preparing For 2010-2011
By Eliza Hallabeck
With her new office freshly painted a tranquil blue and plans for a new setup in the main lobby of Head Oâ Meadow Elementary School, new Principal Barbara Gasparine, who succeeded William Bircher, who quietly retired last month, is looking forward to September 1 when students enter the school for the 2010-2011 school year.
Ms Gasparine comes to Head Oâ Meadow after working for three years as assistant principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where she worked with Principal Donna PagÃ©, who also retired in June. In 2007, Ms Gasparine came to the district from working in Jerome Harrison School in North Branford.
âMy goal was always to pursue an administrative position,â said Ms Gasparine on Monday, July 19. âI always wanted to ultimately become a principal.â
Very few elementary administrative positions are available, she said, and for the few there are, it is a competitive process.
âI put in my application, and I wasnât expecting, at that time , that anything would come of it, and at that time there were over 100 people who applied,â she said. âBut I went through the process. There was a prescreening, and that was when I first met Donna.â
Ultimately she was chosen for the open Sandy Hook School assistant principal position, and she remembers being happily surprised and excited about the opportunity. Ms PagÃ© and she had similar backgrounds, they were both language arts consultants at the elementary level before their positions at Sandy Hook School, and Ms Gasparine thinks this may be a reason as to why she was chosen for the position.
Before working at Sandy Hook School, Ms Gasparine was a second grade teacher. She also taught preschool, and developed the five-day plan for preschoolers at Cabbage Hill Country Preschool in Woodbridge.
After taking a break from work to raise her two children, John, who lives in Baltimore now with his wife Jennifer, and Lauren, who lives in Connecticut, Ms Gasparine said she entered the field when she took a reading consultant position in Woodbridge.
From the start Ms Gasparine has seen her career in Newtown as a chance to have great opportunities.
âWorking with Donna, I was really provided with many great experiences, and a lot of opportunities to learn and grow from her, in her mentor role with me,â said Ms Gasparine. âWe developed a really great relationship. There was a lot of trust there. I was deeply involved in the decisionmaking at the school, and we talked all day. We had an excellent line of communication.â
Ms Gasparine plans to bring a small touch of Ms PagÃ© to her new office, by bringing in a framed writing of âa principalâs chargeâ that once hung in Ms PagÃ©âs Sandy Hook School office.
Â âI hope I left a piece of me there, that I left a mark in some way, in my short tenure there,â said Ms Gasparine about Sandy Hook School.
She said there are certain experiences that she plans to bring with her to Head Oâ Meadow. Head Oâ Meadow has different staff and a different culture, and she plans to spend the first few months getting to know the people and programs at the school.
âI think there is excellent staff here,â she said, âbecause I have met almost all the certified staff. And I received a very warm welcome, and I have had some conversation with them.â
One goal she plans to keep in focus during her first couple months is developing strong home and school connections to ensure success for all students, to help them reach their fullest potential, she said. She will also focus on literacy and communication at all levels of the school.
Finding space in the school has been a challenge since the start of July, she said, like moving the secretary and principal offices back into their original locations.
She likes working as a team and involving others in the decisionmaking process.
âI want the staff and the parents to know that I am available,â said Ms Gasparine, âthat my door is open, and that I welcome and encourage conversation.â
For the next month, Ms Gasparine will be waiting for the first day of school she said, when students will get off the bus and have the chance to meet her during the day.