West Hartford Superintendent Names New Principal for Sedgwick Middle School

Karen Kukish

West Hartford’s Superintendent of Schools has named Karen Kukish as principal of Sedgwick Middle School.

By Ronni Newton

Superintendent of Schools Paul Vicinus announced Friday that he has named Karen Kukish as the next principal of Sedgwick Middle School.

“The spring was truly bittersweet as we celebrated the end of a school year with students eager and excited to move up to the next grade and for many, to high school; but also received the news that Principal Melián would be leaving Sedgwick in search of new and different challenges in his professional career,” Vicinus wrote in a letter to the Sedgwick Middle School community. “While I was saddened to see Juan leave Sedgwick, I was pleased he wished to stay in the district and I am very excited for his transition to Conard High School. I know that he was eager to return to his roots at Conard and he is excited to welcome all those Sedgwick graduates who will attend CHS for their freshman year.” Earlier this month, Vicinus announced that Melián would become an assistant principal at Conard, where Jocelyn Tamborello-Noble has been official named the school’s principal.

“As we began the formal search process, we knew that Sedgwick Middle School is a vibrant and tight-knit community with a strong sense of team and a stronger sense of belonging. Therefore it was important that the search process for its new principal identify a leader with passion, energy, and excellent collaboration skills. We sought a leader with experience and a proven record of success; one who balances holding high expectations with fostering an atmosphere of caring and support; a leader with excellent communication skills and a strong educational vision that places students at the center.” Vicinus said, and Kukish – who has been a middle school teacher and assistant principal in West Hartford, and  has been principal of Whiting Lane Elementary School since 2012 – has the background and leadership abilities, character and welcoming demeanor, and understands the critical importance of the middle school years.

Kukish, who obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as her 092 certification from UConn, started here career in West Hartford in 1998 teaching at King Philip Middle School, and became a team leader in 2003 and assistant principal in 2007. “While serving in that role, she worked to promote a safe and welcoming school environment fostering partnerships with families and caregivers, supporting and mentoring students, and coordinating the schoolwide efforts to enhance and enrich the learning environment such as the PBIS and the Character Counts programs,” Vicinus said.

During her time as principal of Whiting Lane, the school was recognized nationally as a Blue Ribbon award-winning school and highlighted in the “What Works in Schools” film project hosted by Edutopia.

“Her leadership has garnered exceptional academic recognition for Whiting Lane earning School of Distinction status with the Connecticut State Department of Education six separate times,” Vicinus said, and she “is committed to bringing out the best of each Sedgwick student, and ensuring a safe and respectful school culture.”

Kukish will be meeting with students, families, and staff from the Sedgwick community this summer to introduce herself and build relationships as she takes on this new role.

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