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Sandy Hook Elementary Principal Named Administrator Of The Year



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Sandy Hook Elementary Principal Named Administrator Of The Year

By Eliza Hallabeck

After receiving notification that she was nominated for Connecticut Federation of School Administrators 2008-2009 Administrator of the Year, Donna Pagé, the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School, said she had no idea she had won until her name was announced at a dinner on October 23.

“It was a very special evening,” said Ms Pagé.

The annual Presidents Dinner was attended by local CFSA presidents and the American Federation of Schools Administrators National President Jill Levy.

Ms Pagé said she was unaware she had won the recognition of Administrator of the Year until her husband popped out from behind a curtain with Assistant Superintendent of Schools Linda Gejda and Sandy Hook Elementary School Secretary Joanne Didonato.

Reed Intermediate School Assistant Principal and the Newtown Association of Schools’ President Anthony Salvatore announced the award along with Dr Gejda.

Ms Pagé said she was given flowers, a plaque, and a donation in her name of $200 to be given to Relay For Life. Ms Pagé choose Relay For Life as the organization to which her donation to be made.

“I think this is a recognition of my staff as much as it is of me,” said Ms Pagé.

She has been the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School for 13 years, and she has been in the position of principal for 18 years, including another school she worked at.

“We’re very proud of Donna,” said Dr Gejda, “and the work she has done.”

Dr Gejda said the evening of the annual Presidents Dinner was a special night for her, and she was glad she was able to attend it.

“She’s an excellent example of the wonderful administrators we have in town,” Dr Gejda said.

According to the release from the CFSA, some of Ms Pagé’s accomplishments that were acknowledged as outstanding work include her work as a mentor administrator for the Connecticut Principals Center, her work as the facilitator for the Vanguard School Partnership with Barnum School of Bridgeport, and her work as an adjunct professor at the University of New Haven, Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, and Harvard University Principal’s Academy-Institute on Leadership: An Evolving Vision.

“My first year I started out as a teacher in San Antonio,” said Ms Pagé. She said she was originally from the Connecticut area, but went to Texas to teach for one year.

She said her work on the BEST Mentor and Trainer of Trainers program with the state of Connecticut from 1987 to 1989 whetted her appetite regarding what being an administrator could be like.

Now she said she likens her job to being a grandparent. “You really can go in [to a classroom] and enjoy all the kids,” said Ms Pagé.

Looking back on her time at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Ms Pagé said one thing that comes to mind is implementing the One School One Read program, where the entire school picks a book to read for one month.

“That’s been a highlight, but it wasn’t the only one,” she said.

She said one thing that stands out to her as a principal is seeing her talents being used to help develop teachers to their full extent.

“I feel privileged to work with the great number of talented administrators in town,” said Ms Pagé.

At Sandy Hook Elementary School she has been recognized by the teachers and students since receiving the award of Administrator of the Year. She said the teachers held a breakfast for her on Friday, and students and teachers have made a number of cards and a congratulatory book for her. 

 “The best part of this job is the students,” said Ms Pagé.

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