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New London high school principal to leave for new job

New London — New London High School Multi-Magnet Campus Principal Jose Ortiz announced his resignation Tuesday, two years after taking the helm of the newly merged campuses of the STEM Magnet High School and New London High School.

He has accepted a position as special assistant to the superintendent at an unspecified Massachusetts school district. His last day in New London is Dec. 9.

Ortiz, in a Nov. 18 resignation letter to Superintendent Cynthia Ritchie, expressed gratitude for support by the community and school leadership during his time in the district but said "I need to recognize when it is for me the time to take the next step." 

“I am amazed that I have managed to be the principal of three different schools in the New London Public Schools: what a blessing! The years that I have had the opportunity to serve the New London Community have been one of the most special years in my life. I will never forget New London,” Ortiz wrote in his letter to Ritchie.

Ortiz was hired by the district in 2017 as the principal at C.B. Jennings Dual Language and International Elementary Magnet School but left a year later to take a job, initially as senior director of curriculum and language development, in the Southbridge, Mass., school district. He returned to New London in 2019 when he was hired as the director of a newly restructured Bennie Dover Jackson Multi-Magnet Middle School. In July 2020, he was hired to lead the high school, which previously had a principal and a director split between the high school and STEM Magnet High School.

Laurelle Texidor, former director of the STEM Magnet High School, is now the principal at Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School. Former high school Principal Tommy Thompson, who had been reassigned by Ritchie in 2019 as part of a restructuring, later resigned from the district as part of a separation agreement that curtailed a monthslong investigation into alleged violations of school board policies.

The district is expected to immediately begin a national search for a new high school principal. Information about that hiring process is expected to be announced after the school’s Thanksgiving break. Bryan Mahon, one of three assistant principals at the high school, is to serve as interim principal during the transition.

“I want to express my deepest gratitude to Superintendent Ritchie, the Board of Education, and everyone who supported me through my tenure,” Ortiz said in his letter. “I know that MLHSMMC will continue to be 'United in Excellence' as you continue to positively support the lives of students and their families and this community.”

Ritchie called Ortiz "an amazing person, educator and leader."

"We are happy for him as he transitions to a new professional opportunity, however sad for our loss,” Ritchie said. “Jose has made an incredible impact in many ways across the district and will forever be remembered as a champion for children.”

Kate Fioravanti, president of the New London Administrators’ Education Association, said Ortiz will be sorely missed. “As a member of our union and as a colleague he is highly respected. We definitely wish him the very best,” she said.

Fioravanti said she was disappointed that the superintendent’s transition plan, which includes the shuffling of several administrative positions, was not shared with union members sooner. While Ritchie has the authority to assign administrators to new positions, Fioravanti said there are many staff members, “the boots on the ground during day-to-day operations,” that could have added valuable insight to the conversation.

“We were not consulted,” she said.

Margaret Bucaram, the district’s supervisor of English language/bilingual for the secondary level is moving to a full-time position at the high school. Maribel Olivero, director of bilingual education, ESOL and world languages, will be concentrating on the middle school, Ortiz said.

Ritchie, in an email on Wednesday, said she, Ortiz and Human Resources Director Bob Stacy "worked closely with all administrators involved to develop a comprehensive plan for the transition."

"We will continue to collaborate regularly and work together," Ritchie said.

Ortiz was not immediately available for comment.

g.smith@theday.com

Editor's Note: This story was updated to include comments from New London School Superintendent Cynthia Ritchie.

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