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The Board of Education unanimously hired at its April 10 meeting current Sandy Hook Elementary School Assistant Principal Tim Napolitano to be the new principal of Head O’ Meadow Elementary School following the retirement of current school Principal Barbara Gasparine at the end of this school year.
Ms Gasparine announced her retirement in December. She has been serving as the principal at Head O’ Meadow since the 2010-11 school year. She had previously served as the assistant principal at Sandy Hook School. Ms Gasparine succeeded former Head O’ Meadow Principal William Bircher, who retired at the end of the 2009-10 school year.
Mr Napolitano’s appointment will begin on July 1, and his salary will be set by the administrators’ contract with the district. He first came to Newtown in 2000 as a first grade teacher at Sandy Hook School. He later taught at Reed Intermediate School, before starting his assistant principal position at Sandy Hook School in 2013.
“I’m just very excited with Mr Napolitano’s appointment for principal of Head O’ Meadow School,” said board member Debbie Leidlein right after the motion was made.
Superintendent of Schools Dr Lorrie Rodrigue said Mr Napolitano has “all of the attributes that parents and staff were looking for in their next principal.
“He is smart, he is likable,” Dr Rodrigue continued, “he is flexible.”
Before the final decision was brought before the school board, Dr Rodrigue said a site visit was conducted by the board’s search committee. It visited Sandy Hook School to speak “to those who know him best.” Dr Rodrigue said they heard many accolades and adjectives like kind, thoughtful, supportive, intelligent, and more.
“At the end of each and every round at the site visit, someone inevitably ended with, ‘Is there an opening at Head O’ Meadow?’ That says it all,” said Dr Rodrigue. “Congratulations, Tim.”
People in attendance stood and clapped for Mr Napolitano, and Board of Education Chair Michelle Embree Ku pointed out the celebration was not formal yet as the board had technically not voted. The board then voted unanimously with a hearty round of laughter.
Mr Napolitano also spoke after the vote. He thanked the school board for this new opportunity and thanked Dr Rodrigue for believing in him. He also said he will always consider the staff at Sandy Hook School as his family.
“Although we won’t be together, I will take away friendships that last forever,” said Mr Napolitano.
Mr Napolitano said it was fitting that after teacher first grade students at Sandy Hook School 18 years ago, he returned to the school to learn how to be an administrator.
“Being a new administrator five years ago I had wonderful mentors both in the school and district,” said Mr Napolitano, naming Sandy Hook School Principal Kathy Gombos, Dr Rodrigue, and others.
Members of his family were in attendance at the meeting to support him. At the prospect of “working with another amazing team,” Mr Napolitano said, “I’m excited to begin working with the students, families, and staff to continue the wonderful work that is happening under the leadership of [Ms Gasparine and Head O’ Meadow lead teacher Carol Danenberg], and I can’t wait to begin this journey with the Head O’ Meadow community. By working together anything is possible.”