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DEEP RIVER - Christian Strickland is the new face of the Deep River Elementary School. Chosen by the Deep River Board of Education and Search Committee to serve as the Deep River Elementary School principal, Strickland, who resides in Middletown with his wife and two young sons, is excited about his new position and eager to start the 2014-'15 school year at his new post.
Strickland most recently served as the assistant principal at the Mary E. Griswold Elementary School in Berlin. Prior to that he was a math instructional specialist for two years at the school. In the past he has been employed as a 3rd- and 4th-grade teacher in Maryland and then in the Berlin Public Schools. Strickland has been previously recognized as a Teacher of the Year and nominated for the Connecticut Association of Schools Assistant Principal of the Year.
"I have been very fortunate throughout my career to have worked with some amazing educators that I have learned from and who helped me to grow professionally and I am confident I will have more of the same here in Deep River," said Strickland.
Born and raised in Mystic, Strickland completed his B.S. in elementary education and his M.S. and sixth-year degree in educational leadership, all at Central Connecticut State University.
Strickland said he is looking forward to becoming part of the collaborative team of parents, teachers, educators, and students in town.
"Deep River truly impressed me throughout the interview process I went through," said Strickland. "Deep River and the Region 4 School System had such a strong commitment to making sure to find the right fit for the position of principal. I think I met with roughly 45 different people throughout the interview process."
He added, "I knew I wanted to be part of a school system that was willing to put forth so much attention and effort to finding the right person for the job. It was obvious how invested in the community this school system was, and I wanted to be part of that and now I am so excited that I have the opportunity to be."
Having been a classroom teacher, Strickland said he will be calling on that experience to provide leadership from that perspective in the school and to ensure that his number-one goal always is to do right by the students at Deep River Elementary, while supporting the teachers and being available to the parents in the community.
"I am not an office dweller. I like to be out and about in the school, walking the halls, getting familiar with the students and the teachers," said Strickland. "My policy is always open door, so if a parent needs me, I will be here for them and call them back quickly to set a time to meet to address any and all of their concerns."
When he is not working or spending time with his young family, Strickland, a self-described fitness junkie, is competing in and training for spartan races. This former collegiate swimmer finds staying in shape a healthy stress release from his busy life.
He officially started his new position on July 1. Focusing on pressing issues such as safety and the implementation of the Common Core standards, Strickland said he is looking forward to the new school year and the first day of school. His goal is to provide a consistency of leadership throughout the school, support the teachers in any way he can, and help to provide the students with the best educational experience he can offer.
"I am excited to be here and I can't wait for school to begin so I can meet the students and the parents and work to become part of this community team here in Deep River," said Strickland.