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The staff at both the Calvin Leete Elementary School and the Abraham Baldwin Middle School said goodbye last month to Principal Anne Snurkowski, who worked for 30 years at the middle school, and Principal Nancy Bishop, with 19 years in the district at the Calvin Leete School. Their replacements, William Grimm and Douglas Hammel, start their new positions on Aug. 1.
"These two women did a great job over the years at their respective schools," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Freeman of Bishop and Snurkowski. "We will miss them both. They both made major contributions to the Guilford school systems and they will be missed beyond measure."
He added, "On the other hand, we are very excited about our two new principals, William Grimm and Douglas Hammel.
"I was particularly pleased with the amount of interest there was for these positions," said Freeman. "We advertised nationally, and we received applicants from Connecticut to Alaska, Florida, and Minnesota. In total we had over 100 applicants for these positions."
To select the two new principals, four different interviews were held with parents, teachers, Board of Education members, and central administrative representatives. There was also a background check conducted, as well as site visits to evaluate each finalist.
"Both of our new principals are exceptional Connecticut educators," said Freeman. "Neither of them were actively seeking out a new position; it is just that when the opportunity became available for them to work in the Guilford School System, they both wanted to be here."
Grimm will replace Bishop at the Calvin Leete School. He comes from East Haven, where Freeman said he was very successful in restructuring the school system and integrating a great special education program.
"He has a very positive rapport with the kids as well as a great relationship with the parents and he is very highly respected by his colleagues. We are excited to have him with us and we can't wait to start working with him," said Freeman.
Hammel has been chosen to replace Snurkowski at the Abraham Baldwin Middle School. He comes from the Stonington School System. Prior to becoming an elementary school principal, he was a 6th-grade middle school teacher.
"He had a quality relationship with the parents in his district, he was spoken very highly of by those he worked with, and he has a great sense of humor," said Freeman.
"Prior to hiring these two new principals, we held several focus groups with faculty, staff members, and parents to determine exactly what we were looking for in the new principals, and one very big component at the middle school was looking for someone who understood middle schoolers and their parents as well as elementary school-aged children and their parents, because Guilford is unique in the fact that we have a school for just our 5th and 6th graders," said Freeman. "Mr. Hammel fits this role well, and we are excited to start the new year with him.
"I am confident that both our new principals will fit well with our leadership team here in Guilford. They both have prior experience as principals, they both bring unique skill sets to the job, and I am confident we will all work well together moving into the upcoming year," said Freeman.