Julio Duarte, the interim principal for Conard High School, has had the interim tag removed.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen List announced Wednesday that that Duarte, who was named interim principal in April 2013, received a “unanimous endorsement of his leadership” from teachers and parents to be the permanent principal.
“During the past two years we have hired principals at every level of our organization,” List said in the announcement. “We’ve reviewed over 600 applications and interviewed approximately 150 candidates. We know the leadership pool and seek to hire only the best and brightest to serve our community. ...
"I am confident that Mr. Duarte is among that exceptional group of leaders. Over the past six months he has been described as a leader who really enjoys and is available to students; wants to see Conard students succeed and doesn’t view them as just a statistic, but as individuals he genuinely cares about; is present and visible; embraces diversity; is focused on continuous improvement; and brings energy and enthusiasm to this important leadership role."
Duarte has worked in the West Hartford school system for more 11 years, beginning his career as a school counselor at King Philip Middle School in the spring of 2003. He then moved to Conard in the same capacity in July of that year.
In 2009, he was appointed assistant principal of Conard High School. He started as interim principal on July 1 following the departure of Dr. Peter Cummings.
Duarte received his B.A. from the University of Connecticut, M.S. from the University of Hartford, and sixth-year degree in Education Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University.In 2013, he was named the Connecticut Association of Schools Assistant Principal of the Year.
In a telephone interview Wednesday, Duarte said that he is thrilled to be named the permanent principal at Conard.
"I could not be more excited to continue to be where heart is," he said. "It’s where I’ve been my entire career. I love the community, the students, staff, and parents. To continue to be here is a dream come true."
Duarte credited the executive team, which includes List, Tom Moore, Rick Ledwith, Charles Ward and Nancy DePalma, for its support and encouragement."I attribute my success to their belief and support in me," he said.