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Jill Hale, assistant principal at Madison's Polson Middle School for the past nine years, has accepted a position as principal of Guilford Lakes Elementary School. She has been a teacher and administrator in the Madison public schools since 1984.
Guilford Superintendent of Schools Paul Freeman, describing the kind of leader that the administration and interview committee were seeking, said, "Our goal was to hire an experienced educational leader who will continue to build on the strong instructional program at the Guilford Lakes school."
He also emphasized the importance of building positive relationships with parents, staff, and students and "continuing a culture of collaborative learning in the school. Mrs. Hale knows our community, working in neighboring Madison, and understands the expectations of a high-performing school district."
Hale said she was excited about her new position.
"Guilford is a community that is very supportive. The school system has an outstanding reputation. Polson is a fabulous school. I have been here since it started, but we only have these students for two years. In an elementary school, teachers and administrators can work with students across all the early grades," she said, adding, "Both age groups need their teachers and lots of guidance."
Guilford Lakes has slightly more than 300 students. Polson Middle School, which includes grades 7 and 8, has approximately 600 students.
In addition to a background in teaching and administration, Hale's experience includes special education, including eight months as an interim director of special education for the Madison system.
Freeman said, "Her knowledge will serve Guilford schools as well as the Guilford Lakes Elementary School, which houses the district's preschool program for students with disabilities in an inclusive environment with typical peers."
Beginning this fall, the Guilford school will also be home to a pilot program for students on the autism spectrum.
Freeman, in announcing the appointment, said Hale's colleagues described her as "a strong, confident, and collaborative leader who never loses sight of what is most important-the students. As an instructional leader, she guides teachers to set high expectations for themselves and helps them achieve those goals."
Hale holds a B.S. in education, an M.S. in education, and a sixth-year certificate in educational administration. She has also been recognized as Assistant Principal of the Year by the Connecticut Association of Schools.
"I am very proud to have been selected as principal at Guilford Lakes. It is a great school and a great school system, as Polson and Madison are," Hale said.