NFA names transitional program principal

Norwich – Norwich Free Academy alum and current Lyme-Old Lyme guidance director Kathleen Gravel Cote was named today as the new principal of NFA’s new transitional high school program.

Cote will start July 31 and will earn $120,000 per year.

The new transitional program will open Aug. 29 for 62 Norwich students and initially will replace the former Thames River Academy transitional high school. The program is expected to expand to include students in NFA’s other seven partner districts and to private tuition students from throughout the region.

Cote, a Norwich native and resident, graduated from NFA in 1992. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Holy Cross College, a master’s degree in counseling at Fairfield University and educational leadership credentials from Sacred Heart University.

Cote began her career as a Title I teacher at an alternative high school in Mesa, Arizona. She later worked in the Greenwich school system. Cote also worked with students Weston High School and at both Housatonic Community Technical College in Bridgeport and Mitchell College in New London, before going to Old Lyme where she developed The Learning Center, a tutoring and intervention center.

“My experience has always included identifying appropriate programs for students and developing action plans to help them reach their goals,” Cote said in a press release issued by NFA officials today.

NFA officials this week hope to complete interviews to hire the full staff at the new transitional program. Renovations are under way at a three-story office building NFA owns at 80 Sachem Street. Construction is not expected to be completed until late fall or early winter. The transitional program will start the school year at the Bishop School, which had housed Thames River Academy.

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