Ledyard - A three-way administrative shuffle will usher in the new school year here, with three staff members moving to different principal and assistant principal positions.
Ledyard Center Elementary School Principal Greg Keith will be moving up to become principal of Ledyard Middle School, Juliet W. Long School Assistant Principal Susan Nash-Ditzel will be the new Ledyard Center principal, and school psychologist Robin Lipman will become the new assistant principal at Juliet W. Long.
"I'm really excited, and the Board of Education is very pleased with the team that we've assembled," said Superintendent Mike Graner, who made the appointments. "I think we're really poised to do great things for our children."
Graner said former Ledyard Middle School Principal Joe Chella informed him last week that he had accepted a job in another school district in order to be closer to where his children attend school. His exit left open the middle school principal position, with only about a week to fill it.
Keith, who will replace Chella, had been a middle school teacher for 13 years and also had experience as an administrator at two middle schools including Mystic Middle School in Stonington. Keith had been the principal of Ledyard Center for one year.
"I knew we need a good, strong, competent middle school principal," Graner said, "and I have great confidence in Mr. Keith."
Nash-Ditzel will be taking Keith's place as principal of Ledyard Center. Nash-Ditzel was hired last spring to be the assistant principal of Juliet W. Long School. Prior to that position, she was an elementary teacher for six years before going to Rutgers University to get her doctoral degree in literacy education. She then taught at the university level as a literacy professor.
Lipman, a school psychologist for 20 years in Ledyard, will be taking the job of assistant principal of Juliet W. Long School. Lipman has administrative experience from two years ago when she worked as an interim assistant principal at the middle school.
These switches come after two additional appointments in the school system were made in April - Gallup Hill School Principal Pam Austen and Ledyard High School Principal Amanda Sagan.
Graner said the shuffle is "a bit of an analogy" to some other changes that will soon be taking place. A new teacher evaluation system will tested in the state this year, as well as a new curriculum adopted by 47 states in 2010 that includes moving algebra from eighth grade to sixth grade. The school system is also considering moving sixth-grade classes from the elementary schools to the middle school.
But it's all good change, Graner said.
"I think we have some really talented administrators," he said. "There's a new team that's going to lead the implementation of all these educational reforms and initiatives."