Dr. Sharon Epple's last day as principal of will be Jay Smith's first as the interim principal.
Epple, who has served as principal of Reed for the last three years, . She has accepted a job as principal of a school in East Hartford.
With the first day of school rapidly approaching (you can actually see a clock counting down the time on the district's website), administrators turned to a familiar face, Smith.
"Jay is retired, but he is no stranger to Newtown," Janet Robinson, superintendent of schools, told Patch during a telephone interview Tuesday.
Smith served as interim principal at for about six months in 2007 up until the arrival of the current principal, Charles S. Dumais, according to Robinson.
“He is very well respected in the state of Connecticut," she said.
Debbie Leidlein, chairman of the Board of Education, added, “We’re excited that Jay Smith will be joining us.”
As interim principal, Smith will be making on a per-diem basis what Dr. Epple would have made this year, $148,178. "The position itself carries that salary,” Robinson noted.
'A Great Team in Place'
“I’m very confident that the beginning of the school year, while it will have its challenges, will go smoothly,” Leidlein said.
“We have a great team in place,” she continued, acknowledging Jennifer Sinal, Reed’s assistant vice principal. Leidlein called Sinal “a wonderful administrator” and said she would play an integral role in the transition.
A Permanent Replacement
While the immediate focus is on the start of school and ensuring a seamless transition between Epple and Smith, Robinson said the district will be working toward hiring a permanent replacement for Reed.
Toward that end, she said they will host focus groups with teachers and parents to see what qualities they want to see in the next principal. After that information is in hand, the district would then begin accepting applications.
Asked what qualities she thought are important for the new principal at Reed, Leidlein said, “Definitely a strong leader is the first thing that comes to mind. And a good communicator.”
Elaborating, she added, “It’s imperative that we have someone who’s a team player,” in the school and district wide.
Coming tomorrow: A Q&A with Dr. Epple in which she shares her favorite memories at Reed, reflects on her greatest accomplishment there, and touches upon the biggest challenge facing the school and district.