Georgina Rivera to Lead Charter Oak International Academy

Georgina Rivera. Courtesy photo

West Hartford Public Schools announced Friday that Georgina Rivera has been appointed principal of Charter Oak International Academy, taking over for Juan Melián who was named principal at Sedgwick Middle School.

Charter Oak International Academy. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

Georgina “Gina” Rivera is a product of West Hartford Public Schools, and when she learned that she had been chosen as the new principal for Charter Oak International Academy, it was a “full-circle” dream come through.

“The first lesson I ever taught was in fifth grade at Charter Oak,” Rivera said. It was her very first internship, when she was still a student at Central Connecticut State University, where she earned her B.A. in elementary education with a minor in Spanish, as well as her M.A. in mathematics education and a sixth year certificate in mathematics education leadership.

When she heard about the opening at Charter Oak, which arose when it was announced in May that Juan Melián was named principal of Sedgwick Middle School, Rivera said, “I knew I wanted to come back to where it all began.” When she had done that internship years earlier, she immediately loved the family and community feel of the school.

For 23 years, she’s been a teacher and a leader in Bristol Public Schools, in roles that include middle school math teacher, K-5 mathematics coach, and district-wide STEM supervisor. Her most recent role has been dean of students at the Greene-Hills School – which was recently recognized by the Connecticut Association of Schools and honored with their 2022 Exemplary School Climate Award.

As a long-term resident of West Hartford, who attended Wolcott Elementary School, Sedgwick Middle School, and graduated from Conard High School, Rivera has lived in town most of her life and said that knowledge of the community will be important in her new role.

She also brings experience growing up as a multi-lingual learner.

Mathematics is one of Rivera’s “passion areas,” she said, and she has shared that passion through organizing and delivering mathematics education programs locally, state-wide, and on the national level. She is also a published author and contributor to numerous publications.

A letter from West Hartford Public Schools sent to the Charter Oak community on Friday announcing Rivera’s appointment noted that she “distinguished herself from a competitive pool of candidates with her passion for student well-being, her commitment to equity, and her deep knowledge of high-quality instructional practices for elementary school students.”

Rivera said she can’t wait to share her love of education with the Charter Oak students. “I want to help them grow and become the best that they can be.”

She’s already spoken with Melián, and plans a collaborative partnership with him through the transition. Her first day is Tuesday, and she’s looking forward to meeting the staff, more of the teachers, and of course the students and their families.

Rivera’s goal was always to be the teacher she wanted to have. “I’ve poured my life into education,” she said, and is looking forward to her upcoming experience at Charter Oak International Academy.

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