New Principals Reflect On Their First Week With Students In Schools
For two Newtown public school principals, the first week of school marked the first time students were in attendance since starting their new positions. Both Head O’ Meadow Elementary School Principal Tim Napolitano and Newtown High School Principal Dr Kimberly Longobucco started their new positions on July 1.
The Board of Education unanimously hired Mr Napolitano for his new position at an April 10 meeting. Mr Napolitano had been serving as assistant principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He filled retired Head O’ Meadow Principal Barbara Gasparine’s position.
The Board of Education then unanimously voted on May 22 to hire Dr Longobucco, who had been serving as assistant principal at NHS, to serve as principal after hiring former NHS Principal Dr Lorrie Rodrigue to be the district’s superintendent.
“It’s been going well,” said Mr Napolitano before the week was over. “It’s definitely a transition.”
Mr Napolitano said he enjoyed meeting the students, families, and staff members at his new school.
“Everyone has been really welcoming,” he added.
While he may be working in a different school, Head O’ Meadow still has its familiarities. Mr Napolitano worked with some of the Head O’ Meadow staff before, either at Sandy Hook School or during his time as a teacher at Reed Intermediate School. Mr Napolitano’s wife, Kelcy Napolitano, has also taught at Head O’ Meadow.
Mr Napolitano said one of his goals is not to make big changes at Head O’ Meadow. Instead, he added, he plans to listen to the families and staff. After observing “what is happening,” Mr Napolitano said he will support the school in any way he can.
Ms Gasparine, he said, left “a school in a really good place as a leader in the building. It made coming in that much easier.” He added that he is fortunate to work in a place where people love coming to work every day.
“People really work well together, and that is what makes our school special because people really do care about what they are doing,” he said.
‘Out And About’ At NHS
Near the end of the first week of school, Dr Longobucco was still proud of how quickly students had picked up the school routine on the first day of school. Right after students began arriving on the first day of school, August 27, Dr Longobucco said the lobby was full. The first bell had students swiftly switch gears, and everyone headed off to begin a year of learning.
Throughout the week, Dr Longobucco said the administrators were “out and about,” visiting classrooms and more. Assemblies were held to introduce the different grade levels to the school year. For the first two days of school, Dr Longobucco explained that students attended all eight periods of their classes in order to meet their teachers. After the first two days, the school’s rotating schedule began.
Dr Longobucco said she is looking forward to “being able to engage with staff and students in a different way [this year as principal].”
The NHS students, Dr Longobucco observed, seemed excited to be back with classmates and teachers. The students’ excitement to see their teachers, she said, speaks to the climate at the school. The educators “want to be here,” and she said that is felt by the students.
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