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Waterford - School is out for summer as far as students and parents are concerned, but the learning curve is just starting for two new Waterford administrators.
Recently hired Quaker Hill Elementary School Principal Christopher Discordia and Waterford High School Assistant Principal Alison Moger of Waterford officially start work Tuesday in their new positions and have already begun shadowing their predecessors and attending meetings to get up to speed.
Moger, previously a teacher and administrator at East Lyme High School, said her new position will be the first where she acts as an administrator full time. Discordia just finished his tenure as assistant principal at Memorial Elementary School in East Hampton. He described his new position as "a lot more responsibility."
"The buck stops with me," he said Sunday.
School board chairwoman Kathleen McCarty said the new administrators will bring valuable experience with technology integration and the common core standards to the district. She said they both demonstrated energy and passion. Superintendent Jerome Belair wrote in an email that the two "place the students at the center of their decision-making."
Discordia of East Lyme has 10 years of professional experience, according to Belair. He taught at Niantic Center School before working in East Hampton, and has also taught at schools in the towns of Lebanon and Bozrah. He said that as a teacher in East Lyme he worked to integrate technology into the school by teaching colleagues how to use new technologies in the classroom.
Moger, who lives in town, has worked in education for more than 20 years, according to a separate press release. Her experience includes work as a special education teacher at a residential program for students in the court system and a school for young adults with disabilities. In her position at East Lyme High School, she taught sociology advanced placement psychology and oversaw alignment of the school's curriculums with the common core standards.
Discordia and Moger said they were drawn to Waterford because they liked the administration and because the move would bring them closer to home. Moger, who has two children attending Waterford public schools, said she looked forward to no longer having to stand between East Lyme and Waterford fans at school sports games.
"I definitely won't cheer against East Lyme but I'll cheer for Waterford wholeheartedly," she said Sunday. She also said she was excited to work with the technology available at the high school since it was rebuilt.
The two said that their main goal before school starts will be to build relationships with district teachers and parents.
Moger said she also plans to familiarize herself with the student handbook and sit in on interviews for a new guidance counselor.
Discordia listed his tasks for the first three official days of work, which follow a month of bouncing between duties in East Hampton and Waterford: a hiring committee meeting on Tuesday, a scheduling committee meeting on Wednesday and a Parent Teacher Association meeting on Thursday. He said the school is hiring four teachers.
As the new administrators begin work, their predecessors are retiring. Discordia is taking over for Glenda Dexter, principal of the elementary school for more than a decade. Moger will take the place of Rebecca Amanti, who held the position for 17 years.
McCarty said Dexter is known for balancing warmth and learnedness in her leadership style. She said students and staff have great respect for Amanti, who as assistant principal often took on the role of disciplinarian and kept the high school running smoothly.
"We both have big shoes to fill," said Moger.