The Board of Education unanimously hired Lorrie Rodrigue of Oxford to fill the position of principal at Newtown High School and Jill Bontatibus Beaudry of Newtown for the assistant principal position at Reed Intermediate School during its meeting on Tuesday, May 20.
Former NHS principal Charles Dumais left the district in February to fill the position of superintendent of Amity Regional School District #5. Former Ridgefield High School principal Jeffrey Jaslow has been serving as interim principal at NHS since then. Dr Rodrigue will assume her position on July 1.
For Dr Rodrigue, it is a move back to Newtown and NHS. She has served as Pomperaug High School principal since 2008, served as principal at Shepaug Valley Middle-High School from 2005 to 2008, as an assistant principal at NHS from 2000 to 2005, as a high school English teacher at NHS from 1998 to 2000, as an English teacher at NMS from 1992 to 1998, and as a junior high language arts teacher from 1990 to 1992 at Broadview Junior High School.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph Erardi, Jr, thanked Interim Director of Human Resources David Abbey, NMS Principal Tom Einhorn, BOE Vice Chair Laura Roche, and school board member John Vouros for serving on a search committee for the new principals.
“It is a rare opportunity… to be able to come back to a district that I so respect and have learned so much from over the course of my career, as a teacher and a leader,” said Dr Rodrigue after the school board voted to hire her for the position. She added that “It feels to me a lot like coming home.”
Dr Rodrigue said she was “the happiest person in the room right now” before saying she is excited to work with the staff, leaders, and parents at NHS. She thanked her family for their support, and said former superintendent of schools John Reed taught her about leadership, collaboration, and decisionmaking.
“To all of you, thank you so much,” said Dr Rodrigue. “It’s another chapter in my career, and I am so thankful I get to start that right here again in Newtown, Connecticut.”
Ms Beaudry was hired as Reed Intermediate School’s interim assistant principal last July. As of this week’s Board of Education meeting, Ms Beaudry will assume the position permanently as of July 1.
“This is, I think, a tremendous testimony to the professional learning community that Newtown Public Schools represents,” Dr Erardi said of Ms Beaudry’s appointment. “It is also a testimony to [Ms Beaudry’s] good work… this year as an interim assistant principal.”
Dr Erardi said he is convinced Ms Beaudry and Reed Intermediate School Principal Anne Uberti will make an “outstanding team.”
Before the assuming the position of interim assistant principal at Reed last year, Ms Beaudry worked as a fifth grade teacher at Reed from 2005 until 2013; she was a Gifted and Talented Education Services teacher from 2004 to 2005, a second and third grade teacher at West Middle Elementary School in Hartford from 1988 to 1998, and before that taught at three schools in California.
“I want to thank the board members for your support this year,” Ms Beaudry said. “I know this is a leap of faith to have me move from being a teacher to being an administrator. And I’ve learned so much and I appreciate the support, and Dr Erardi’s support. I’ve been thrilled by how much I have learned by working with Anne Uberti. It’s really been a pleasure.”
Ms Beaudry said she was sad her family, her husband and daughter, could not attend Tuesday’s meeting, but realized after looking around the room that she was surrounded by her daughter’s former teachers and staff members she has worked with over the past ten years.
“So I truly feel my family is here with me, my extended family, especially all the teachers from Reed,” said Ms Beaudry. “So I want to thank them, because they have been a tremendous support… I couldn’t have done it without [Ms Uberti] and I certainly couldn’t have done it without all those teachers.”