Board of Education Names Deep River Principal

DEEP RIVER - The Board of Education announced this week that it has named Christian Strickland to the position of principal at the elementary school. Strickland most recently served as the assistant principal at Griswold Elementary School in Berlin for the past four years.

Prior to his experience as an assistant principal, Strickland was a math instructional specialist for two years. He began his career in education as a 3rd- and 4th-grade teacher in Maryland and then in the Berlin public schools. He has been recognized as a teacher of the year and nominated for the Connecticut Association of School Superintendents (CAS) Assistant Principal of the Year.

Strickland completed his bachelor of science degree in elementary education and his master's degree and his sixth-year degree in educational leadership, all from Central Connecticut State University. Outside of school, he is an avid swimmer and enjoys participating in Spartan races.

The Deep River Board of Education and the search committee were very impressed by Strickland's knowledge, commitment to excellence, integrity, sense of humor, and enthusiasm for elementary school students, families, and the Deep River community, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ruth Levy said. The Board of Education unanimously endorsed his appointment at its May 15 meeting.

"We are confident that Mr. Strickland will provide excellent leadership for the students at Deep River Elementary School," she said. "We are looking forward to Mr. Strickland becoming an integral part of our leadership team in his new role."

Strickland lives in Middletown with his family. He will begin his tenure at the elementary school July 1.

When Deep River Elementary School students and staff returned to school from their holiday vacations Jan. 2, they were greeted by Nancy Haslam, a newly appointed interim principal, who will remain through the end of the school year in June. Haslam moved into the principal's office in mid-year after Jennifer Byars, the former principal, announced her resignation. Byars resigned to accept a position as assistant superintendent with the Ledyard school district.

Byars was named principal at Deep River Elementary School in June 2012. A Deep River resident and native and a graduate of Valley Regional High School, she came to the district from Ledyard, where she had served as principal of the Gallup Hill School for four years. Prior to that, she served as an assistant principal in Gales Ferry.

Byars replaced Jack Pietrick, who retired after serving as principal at the school for 13 years.

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