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Principal Change at Whiting Lane When Assistant Superintendent Leaves District

Dr. Nancy DePalma will become assistant superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment as Dr. Eileen Howley leaves for a regional position, triggering a 'domino effect' change in leadership at both Whiting Lane and King Philip.

The following press release was received from Superintendent of West Hartford Public Schools Dr. Karen List on Tuesday:

Dr. Eileen Howley, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment will be leaving our district effective November 30. She has accepted the position of Executive Director of LEARN, the regional educational service center (RESC) in the southeast corner of the state. 

This is an excellent opportunity for Dr. Howley and we are grateful for the exceptional leadership she has provided to our district during her 3 ½ year tenure. She has helped shape a systemic approach to district and school development aligned with our mission framework, revitalized the process of curriculum review making it more relevant and instituting vertical teams, created structures to address special education needs as we transitioned to the cross-categorical model for children with special needs, developed the implementation plan for the Common Core State Standards, and worked with our teachers and leaders to begin the process of defining what good teaching looks like as we redesign our system for educator evaluation and development.

She leads by example with integrity, moral purpose, a strong grounding in effective pedagogy and an uncanny ability to listen, reflect and be inclusive. She will be sorely missed. I am grateful to her for her friendship, guidance and belief in our collective ability to prepare our children for better futures.

While we agree that Dr. Howley is irreplaceable, I was confident that there is someone within our organization who has the personal qualities and experience to be the Interim Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment.

Dr. Nancy DePalma is that person. She has served the West Hartford community with distinction as a School Counselor, Department Supervisor, Hall High School Principal and Whiting Lane Principal for over 25 years. Her PK – 12 leadership, strong communication and interpersonal skills, respected reputation, expertise with special education and ability to move forward with the elements required in our school and district development and performance plans have served our community well. It is because of these qualities as well as her record of being a proactive and responsive leader that we wanted Dr. DePalma to move into this critical leadership position.

Dr. DePalma will assume her new leadership role on November 17, 2012.

At the same time, we want to be certain to provide Whiting Lane with outstanding leadership while Dr. DePalma is serving the larger community. So it is with delight and excitement that I announce that Ms. Karen Kukish, currently the King Philip Middle School Assistant Principal, will serve as Interim Whiting Lane Principal through the remainder of the school year. 

Ms. Kukish has served as King Philip Assistant Principal since 2007 and prior to that was a 6th grade teacher and team leader at King Philip. She has distinguished herself as a Beginning Teacher Portfolio evaluator and mentor and chairperson of the Equity and Excellence Committee. As assistant principal she is responsible for the supervision and evaluation of teachers, planning and implementation of professional development and school development planning, the Morning Advisory program, interventions, data analysis, character education program, student discipline, the grade five to six transition and orienting new teachers.

Ms. Kukish brings outstanding interpersonal skills, sensitivity to the needs of all learners, teaching and learning expertise, and passion for doing what is right and good for children. She completed all of her undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Connecticut. She will begin on November 12, 2012.

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