When the new academic year begins next Tuesday, an estimated 4,000 students will walk through the doors of the town’s seven schools.
“Our projected enrollment is 4,001,” Superintendent Kathleen Greider said. “We are excited to begin this new school year by welcoming back our students on Sept. 4.”
The school district has 37 new faculty members, who were introduced during a convocation held Aug. 29 at Farmington High School.
“Our 2012 convocation was an inspiring event for administrators, faculty and staff,” Greider said. “We celebrated Farmington’s focus on collective leadership and innovation.”
Collective leadership has a greater influence on student achievement than individual leadership, she said, and to model it, nine faculty and staff members gave presentations.
“Teachers and staff members presented innovative IGNITE talks to represent the powerful improvement work occurring in Farmington at all grade levels,” Greider said.
Each presenter developed a series of 20 slides that automatically advanced after 15 seconds, she said. That way, each talk took exactly five minutes and the presentations were fast-paced. Each school in Farmington was represented.
Greider spoke at the convocation, as did Assistant Superintendent Kim Wynne, Board of Education Chair Mary Grace Reed and FHS Student Body President John Mastroianni.
“He talked about the strong relationships that have been established between students and teachers in Farmington,” Greider said. “John stated that faculty, staff, students and parents are all a part of ‘One Team’ in Farmington.”
Another speaker was Mary Lundquist, the 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year.
“She presented an innovative presentation on how we create purposeful engagement and meaningful knowledge within our mathematics curriculum, instruction and assessment,” Greider said. “She provided examples of how her students used the IGNITE format to demonstrate their understanding of complex math concepts.”
Lisa Kapcinski, newly appointed assistant principal of Farmington High School, said the convocation was exciting and that she was inspired by Lundquist’s speech.
“Mary talked about the need to be brave, to be innovative and to try something new,” said Kapcinski, who has worked at Farmington High for 15 years as a Spanish teacher, foreign language department head and last year as dean of students.
She looks forward to the challenges that lay ahead for her as one of the school’s two assistant principals.
“I’ll have more responsibility for the kids, the whole school population,” Kapcinski said. “As dean, I was still in the classroom part-time.”
One of her duties will be to work with freshmen on their transition to high school and in the future, she will take what she learned from that experience to form a plan of professional development.
“I feel blessed to be given this position,” Kapcinski said, adding that she has received support from FHS Principal Timothy Breslin and Assistant Principal Curt Pandiscio.
“Our goal this year will be getting the kids to meet standards,” she said. “We’re just shy of 1,300 students.”
At Irving Robbins Middle School, a little more than 600 students are enrolled for the new school year.
“I’ll be at the front door when they arrive,” said Principal Ted Donahue, who was promoted from assistant principal. “That’s one of the most exciting and fun things, to greet the students.”
He joined the Farmington school district in 2000 as a social studies teacher at the high school, where he later served as dean for two years before moving to IAR last year.
“I’m so thrilled to be principal,” Donahue said. “I feel like the luckiest guy around and I’m so honored. I don’t take the position lightly.”
His faculty is “terrific,” he said, including nine new teachers, two of them moving over from FHS.
“We’ve been working all summer to get ready,” Donahue said. “There’s such a level of excitement.”
They’re partnering together to make sure each student is successful, he said.
“My goal is for each student to feel excited, challenged, encouraged and accepted,” the new principal said.
Donahue has been replaced as IAR assistant principal by Krista Bauchman, who for the last five years was a seventh-grade science teacher in Regional School District 13 at Frank Ward Strong Middle School in Durham. In addition to her teaching duties there, she was a team leader and member of the School Improvement Planning Committee.
Other new leadership appointments include Cynthia Martin, supervisor of special education, and Veronica Ruzek, director of curriculum and instruction.
Ruzek replaces Kim Wynne, who now serves as assistant superintendent.
The dean position at Farmington High is still open.