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West Hartford Superintendent Announces Elementary School Assistant Principal Appointments

West Hartford Public Schools Superintendent's Office. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

West Hartford Public Schools will have assistant principals at all of the elementary schools beginning with the 2024-2025 school year.

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford Superintendent of Schools Paul Vicinus announced “with great excitement and enthusiasm” on Friday that 10 of the 11 new elementary school assistant principals have been hired.

“This group of educational leaders will help to support our elementary schools and drive improvements to school safety, student relationships and character development, and family partnerships, especially among those families with individualized educational plans or specialized programs,” Vicinus said in the announcement.

The only elementary school assistant principal position remaining vacant at this time is at Bugbee, where there is a search process underway for a new principal who will have input on the hiring of an assistant principal. Kelly Brouse, the current Bugbee principal, will transition to a role as assistant director of Pupil Services.

The elementary school assistant principal team includes:

  • Aiken – Amy Schmelder
  • Braeburn – Diana DiFiore
  • Charter Oak International Academy – Mary Lestini
  • Duffy – Brittney Zieller-Bliss
  • Morley – Tracey Rotella
  • Norfeldt – Michelle Wendehack
  • Smith STEM – Liz Nascimento
  • Webster Hill – Kate DeJulius
  • Whiting Lane – Kristina Wieckowski
  • Wolcott – Sabrina Motyka

Director of Pupil Services Melissa Caballero (left) and Bugbee Elementary School Principal Kelly Brouse pictured at Breakfast on the Bridge. Sept. 14, 2022. Brouse is becoming the assistant director of Pupil Services. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

“We were very fortunate to have a talented pool of individuals from within the district competing for these positions and decisions were difficult given the talent and dedication of all of the applicants,” Vicinus said in the announcement. All who have been hired were internal candidates, Vicinus confirmed. More specific information about each of the new hires is being shared with the school communities by the principals.

Vicinus expressed his thanks to the Board of Education for their support of the transition to a principal-assistant principal model within the 2024-2025 budget. When he proposed the budget in March, he noted in his executive summary that the change was intended “to provide support in managing administrative issues, discipline, and building based oversight of special education and 504 processes and service delivery models,” to truly enable to elementary principals to position themselves as “key instructional leaders in the district.”

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