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Longtime educator and administrator to lead New London elementary school

New London — Longtime New London educator and former STEM Magnet High School Director Laurelle Texidor is the new principal at the Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School.

Texidor, who has served as the principal at both Winthrop and Jennings elementary schools during her nearly three-decade career in New London, will replace outgoing Principal Carlos X. Leal at the arts-themed K-5 school. The move is part of a reshuffling of some leadership roles in the district in anticipation of the start of the new school year — which the district recently announced will begin as a hybrid mix of in-person instruction and remote learning.

Leal recently accepted a position in New York that he said brings him closer to his family.

“COVID-19 resulted in deep concern for my family and a need to make some difficult personal decisions about being present for them,” Leal said in a July 17 letter to New London School Superintendent Cynthia Ritchie.

Prior to coming to New London in 2015, Leal worked in the Office of Professional Learning in the Rochester City School District in New York.

Texidor, who is expected to start at the elementary school this week, had been serving as the director of the STEM Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut when she was tapped last year to serve as interim director of the New London Multi-Magnet Campus. It was a position created to encompass both New London High School and the magnet high school as part of a restructuring and transition into a full magnet school district.

The restructuring led to a reassignment for former New London High School Principal William “Tommy” Thompson, who was shifted to a new position heading secondary-level curriculum.

Last month, the Board of Education approved the hiring of middle school Director Jose A. Ortiz as the director of the New London Multi-Magnet High School Campus. The position of director of the Bennie Dover Jackson Multi-Magnet Campus remains open but may be filled as early as this week.

Ritchie thanked Leal for his dedication and service to the district and wished him well on his new position. Nathan Hale, under Leal’s leadership, was name a 2019 School of Excellence by Magnet Schools of America, a national honor that was also bestowed on the STEM Magnet High School under Texidor’s leadership.

Leal said he was prepared to support with any transition efforts to ensure a safe and orderly start to the new school year.

“It was a pleasure working for New London Public Schools and having the opportunity to lead Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School into award-winning status,” Leal said in his resignation letter. “I will miss my chosen family … more specifically the students, families, co-workers, and community partners with whom I have worked with over the years. I appreciate their understanding in this very difficult decision.”

g.smith@theday.com

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