Bristol Elementary principal accepts district job

BRISTOL — A reshuffling of positions is under way in Bristol schools, as Bristol Elementary School Principal Catrina DiNapoli takes a one-year interim position with the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union. The school district is looking to interview candidates to fill the BES principal position for a year.
DiNapoli will take on the role of curriculum and professional development director for the 2013-2014 academic year, filling in for Nancy Cornell, who is taking a one-year leave of absence for personal reasons.
“The role of curriculum director over at the central office will afford me a chance to kind of step back and look at our system overall, which is work that I really enjoy,” DiNapoli said. “I’ve always enjoyed looking at the bigger picture and seeing how our schools can work together and be more resourceful.”
“In the field of education, ensuring we have a well-managed staff and a clearly defined curriculum is more important than ever before,” said Superintendent David Adams. “Catrina is well-respected within her school and the community. Having her in the district office is going to be a real pleasure for us.” 
Adams said that DiNapoli is uniquely qualified to take the reins from Cornell, as the two are close colleagues who share a vision for the ANeSU district.
“We are expecting a seamless transition,” he said.
DiNapoli, who taught in Shelburne for seven years and then served as the assistant principal at the Charlotte Central School for five years before coming to BES, says she is excited for the big-picture administrative tasks the curriculum director job will bring.
“I was able to do a little of that work at BES my first couple of years, because we had a principal and an assistant principal position,” DiNapoli said. “Now we have just the principal role so it’s hard for me to be able to branch out quite that much. So I miss it, and seeing this come up in sort of a one-year capacity was attractive.
“(The school district) has some new standards coming and new assessments coming, so I’m hoping that I can be a help to all of our schools as we embark on some new changes,” said DiNapoli.
Adams said some of those changes include piloting a new incarnation of Common Core curriculum next spring. The Common Core is a nationwide education reform program that each state administers, which emphasizes performance on standardized testing. The Common Core curriculum is enacted through the 2004 No Child Left Behind Act, with which Adams said that DiNapoli is very familiar.
The BES school board granted DiNapoli a leave of absence, which gives her the opportunity to return to BES once the one-year term is completed.
Meanwhile, the search for an interim principal for BES is progressing according to schedule. DiNapoli said that an interview committee has been formed with members who represent the BES staff, as well as community and board members. As of early this week, the job posting had closed after the board had received responses from what DiNapoli called a “nice batch” of qualified candidates. The committee planned to set up interviews with those candidates beginning next Monday, May 6.
And the qualities that DiNapoli hopes her successor will bring to BES?
“Someone who has a passion for education and kids, of course,” she said. “And who doesn’t mind being really, really busy … and a good sense of humor would be nice. A lot of patience, a great listener.”
DiNapoli also stressed that the ideal candidate would take the reins of some important initiatives that she and her staff have begun in recent years.
Aside from the Common Core pilot program and other reforms that affect all Vermont schools, BES has opted to undergo extensive audits and evaluations — like participating the state’s Green Mountain Star Web-based evaluation program, and inviting consultants from the University of Vermont’s Project Evolve education program to give BES feedback — to identify areas where the staff and school could better serve its students’ academic and non-academic needs.
“We’ve been collecting input from staff, data about how our kids are doing academically, behaviorally, and identifying focus area that we really want to put our energy into,” DiNapoli said.
She hopes that the recommendations from those audits, studies, and feedback sessions will help guide her successor.
“We are always looking to refine our support systems for kids and families who are struggling or having some challenges in and outside of school, so we’ve been working really hard to find how best to build structures around that,” DiNapoli said. “I just want the staff and the community to continue to feel supported and moving in a really positive direction. We’ve made a lot of changes in the past couple of years and we’ve been on school improvements and folks have worked really hard. So I think to have a principal come in and acknowledge that, and then help them continue along the path that they’ve been on now for years, will be really important.” 

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