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A Moment With Sharon Epple

The former principal shares her favorite memories while at Reed Intermediate and her thoughts on education in Newtown.


Sharon Epple says she will miss the students at terribly, but she is excited to take on a new challenge in another district.

Yesterday was Epple's last day as Reed principal, and today is her first day as principal of a K-6 elementary school in East Hartford. until a permanent replacement is found.

A longtime educator and administrator, Epple served as principal at Reed for the last three years. Prior to that, she was a principal in Brookfield, Bridgewater/Roxbury and New Canaan. She also taught first and second grade for 11 years before becoming an administrator.

The 49-year-old Bethel resident is the mother of three grown children. Patch caught up with Epple in her last week on the job and got her to share some of her memories and thoughts on education in Newtown.

Patch: What do you consider your greatest achievement while serving as principal at Reed?

Epple: Budget times have been very challenging. Even so, we were able to add several positions over the years that really support student development and achievement: an additional literacy teacher, our first ever writing support teacher, an additional guidance counselor, additional time for our advanced math teacher, stipends for special education co-coordinators and additional time for our part-time art teacher.

Patch: What will you miss most?

Epple: I will miss the students terribly. Our fifth and sixth graders are very special and their social, emotional and academic growth in the two year span is amazing to witness.

Patch: What is your best/most cherished memory?

Epple: We work really hard to support all of our students and some need quite a bit. I cherish a hug I got at the end of the year this year from one of the students who especially struggled. I believe she knew that I was in her court. It makes all the hard work worth while!

Patch: What's your advice for the new principal?

Epple: I believe our focus on improving consistency and coherence throughout the school has been tremendous. Stay the course!

Patch: What is the greatest challenge facing the school/district?

Epple: Trying to restore our budget to levels that allow the schools to move forward.

Newtown Resident and Teacher August 26, 2012 at 04:12 PM
We received a teacher from their school who performed a similar function. N.I.C.E. funds substitutes when teachers are participating in study tours. The AP oversees the program, but there are many staff members who are in charge of the various components and who perform this work above and beyond their teaching responsibilities. If you watched the BOE meeting where the AP presented, N.I.C.E. represents a tiny fraction of his responsibilities.
Sam Mihailoff August 26, 2012 at 04:50 PM
NEWTOWN RES & TEACH You're also mistaken when you imply that anyone who hosts a student or teacher is automatically approved for a study tour. I NEVER SAID THAT...YOU GOT THE WRONG GUY The only "bashing" as you put it...is that of financial...fully paid for is just that, not kind of, but some of it....DOES NOT FLY The other is strictly one of an educator, who feels more to share with a sixth grade mind musically than utube videos and Orff instruments and claiming it to be a well- planned course. If you are pleased and satisfied, SWELL...I am not!
Truthteller August 26, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Based on the names of many attendees/participants, many, if not most of the students named in newspaper accounts who've travelled to Asia, have either hosted visiting students, or have a parent working in the school system. The students might be fine individuals, however, the obvious connection to being selected for such trips is this correlation, along with the ability to fund the trip (along with recently donated funds). That is a fact, Jason. Promoting the scholastic organization to elected municipal leaders is shrewd marketing, thus initiating the politicizing of N.I.C.E. The last thing our students need is to be a political football, again, during budget season when the day comes that funds are being moved about to help N.I.C.E.. I see another Fairfield Hills in the works!
Christine Rose (Editor) August 27, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Sam's comment was removed, Po.
Gina Wessen August 27, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Would like to get your input about the tone of the "Accountability In Newtown" FB Group, and whether you think it helps or hurts the town. Please chime in at the new "Accountability in Newtown CT (Open and Uncensored)" FB Group here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/359442710803141/
Ming Hung Lo August 27, 2012 at 02:02 AM
"playing high stakes poker" LMAO !!! sounds like a Sarah Palin line!
Peter Galic August 27, 2012 at 02:44 AM
I would assume the town did NOT give the exchange teachers any network access privilages? Did our crack computer people permit him to use thumbdrives? discs? or portable hardrives? Did he connect any devices to our networks? Laptop? Mp3 player? smart phone? Did our personel bring ANY electronic devices with them to China? Only a fool would underestimate their enemys. Trust me on this one Ming
Desiree Galassi August 27, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Truthteller, the application process has several components which students must satisfy in order to be selected for the study tour part of the program. This ensures that students are socially, emotionally, educationally able to participate in ways that honor our school, our town, our country as well as ensure they do not offend people on their own soil. Our son was selected in the spring of 2011 as he met (or exceeded) all the criteria, and later he expressed a desire to host guests. We were thrilled at the opportunity. In 2012 I decided to start the NICE PCO to give students who are unable for financial reasons to partake in study tour option of the programs the opportunity to go overseas and have this unique experience. When I was in high school my father lost his job and I had to withdraw from our overseas program and he was heartbroken. My father passed away in October of this past year and I honor his many sacrifices by giving others the opportunity to participate in study tours. I have spent countless UNPAID and HAPPY hours working for and donating to a program I love and believe in so that we can provide many types of cultural offerings to students, educators and the community. Our volunteers work hard to find donations. Happily your comments ( and those of others) are overwhelmingly offset by the collaborative, open, generous spirit of those who seek to better understand or partake in the scope and mission of the NICE programs.
Truthteller August 27, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Good for you, Ms. Galassi! You are an amazing woman!!
Po Murray August 27, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Christine Rose, Thank you for removing the inappropriate comments.
Po Murray August 27, 2012 at 04:01 AM
NICE is sending a study tour to France next April and some students will be selected to go to Japan. This program is not just about China. This program is wonderful. Please go to WWW.nicepco.org and learn more!
Sam Mihailoff August 27, 2012 at 05:33 AM
we are going to find out...buckle up and call AOL. getout their legal check books I document everything From: Christine Rose Sent: Sunday, August 26, 2012 11:48 PM To: SAM Subject: Re: racism comment I worked in racism with the Dept of Justice and US Commission of Civil Rights for five years, and they would agree with me. On Sun, Aug 26, 2012 at 11:26 PM, SAM <smshct@charter.net> wrote: The government, civil courts, major news organizations and television news programs would disagree with you...So do I. From: Christine Rose Sent: Sunday, August 26, 2012 9:13 PM To: Sam Mihailoff Subject: racism comment DeleteSam Mihailoff 5:28 pm on Saturday, August 25, 2012 This China Initiative, N.I.C.E. program, whatever name one cares to don on... it is becoming as invasive as poison ivy... Now it’s at Sandy Hook School and the gang is going to China in the spring and before anyone barks that it is during vacation and they are paying their own way...how many days is the little jet set junket? “TEN”... How many days is vacation? “FIVE.” So, it does cost the town taxpayers Why is this Chinese music the hot ticket in our schools anyway? The kids don’t like it... The teachers don’t like it...so stop squeezing our egg roll The People’s Republic of Newtown Sam, this IS racist. Christine --- Christine Rose Local Editor—Bethel & Newtown Patch.com 203-543-9720 christine.rose@patch.com
Thomas Crafts August 27, 2012 at 05:41 AM
"The thought police would get him just the same. He had committed--would have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper--the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you." - George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 1
Franco American August 27, 2012 at 09:54 AM
Sam, You are my Hero.........In China you would be censored and perhaps arrested.....Franco
yoda August 27, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Yeah OK, PO!!!
yoda August 27, 2012 at 11:11 AM
No it's not!! If I say don't drink the Kool Aide, Am I racist?
yoda August 27, 2012 at 11:15 AM
I really can’t get over how you treat people, you think you better than everyone else! You really do belong in Ridgefield, get to stepping!!
Sam Mihailoff August 27, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I suppose I should have said "STOP YANKING ON OUR FRIGGIN' CHAIN" or I could have used any one of these non, Asian varieties of egg rolls...that would have been hunky-dory right??? Lumpia Kati roll Kabyob Biscuit roll Totino’s pizza roll taquito nem
Big Family August 27, 2012 at 03:51 PM
"moron" Christine, your standards?
yoda August 28, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Oh and you misinforming the community by twisting words and creating a different story in your head is ok, right? Look in the mirror Po, I'll treat you the way you treat my community!
yoda August 28, 2012 at 12:51 AM
I'm waiting to hear you say that me and Sam where the reasons you lost the election! WRONG GO!!!
Mutt Romney August 28, 2012 at 12:59 AM
I do believe that Po has attempted to do more good for Newtown than a 1000 of Sam and Yoda.
Mutt Romney August 28, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Yoda, you'd be better off sticking to being a police department pom pom boy!
Sam Mihailoff August 28, 2012 at 11:38 AM
GOOD MORNING MRS. MURRAY http://www.youtube.com/​watch?v=8w9xk4hUKoQ
Truthteller August 28, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Newtown Res/Teach/JH: while the NICE thing may be a tiny fraction of your responsibilities, it receives overwhelming attention to the detriment of the myriad responsibilities you were hired for and which we are paying. First hand info--
Newtown Resident and Teacher August 28, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Truthteller - My initials are not JH. If you have an issue with someone with those initials, you should speak with him directly.
Sawyer August 28, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Sam, It's doubtful your sweet sentiments will entice a new neighbor, you may have to call on "the force", where's Yoda......... ;) Good Luck Sam, be safe!!
Alex Tytler August 29, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Hey, it sure looks like we are getting a bifurcated budget with advisory questions. All the nay sayers should note that it took less than a month to craft the doccument. Why isn't this topic up on the Patch?
Jodie September 01, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Please respond to the real Gina (Donna Boyce) at the link below: The corresponding "referring URL to Gina's Profile Picture is: https://www.facebook.com/po.murray/friends?ft_ref=mini Donna Boyce: http://www.donnaboyce.com/Why_Call_Donna/page_566782.html
Sam Mihailoff April 21, 2013 at 05:27 AM
Gina Wessen...fictitious character....she stole someone's identity and photograph Christine Rose, a member of Gina's clubhouse...FACT that's a perfect choice for an editor...PERFECT

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