Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School welcomes new vice principal

  • Joseph Moynihan, of Westfield, assumed the role of vice principal at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School on July 1. Moynihan joins the Mohawk Trail Regional School District with 22 years of teaching experience. Contributed Photo


Staff Report
Published: 9/20/2021 4:27:06 PM

SHELBURNE FALLS — When students at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School arrived for the start of the academic year this month, a new face was there to greet them.

New Vice Principal Joseph Moynihan took over for Hayley Gilmore, who was promoted to principal following the retirement of Joanne Giguere. Moynihan, a U.S. Navy veteran and Westfield resident, joined the Mohawk Trail Regional School District on July 1 with 22 years of teaching experience and a lifelong commitment to education.

A graduate of the former Holyoke Catholic High School, University of Massachusetts Amherst and American International College, Moynihan’s appreciation for education began at home, according to a press release from Carla Potts, director of communications with the Mohawk Trail Regional School District. His father, a former director of personnel for a local college, drilled home the importance of education to his children, which Moynihan said helped pave his career path.

According to the release, Moynihan began his career in college admissions, helping to guide students along their path in higher education. While he enjoyed the work, he felt a strong pull to go back to school himself. After six years working in admissions, he decided to pursue his degree in elementary education and spent the next 22 years working as an educator at William E. Norris School in Southampton.

“I knew right away where I wanted to be,” Moynihan said in the release. “Life is precious and every day is so important. I felt it was my duty — it was my job — to help others feel good about themselves.”

Later in his career, Moynihan decided to pursue his administrator’s license, which he received through the Collaborative for Educational Services in 2020, the release states.

“I poured my heart and soul into obtaining my certification,” he said. “And then COVID-19 hit and I decided to table pursuing a position (in administration) for a year.”

In doing so, this allowed Moynihan to experience the challenges of teaching during a pandemic — learning how to teach remotely or in a hybrid format, and re-adjusting to classroom life post shut-downs.

“I experienced first-hand what our educators did, which gives me the ability to understand what they need and how I can assist them,” Moynihan said in the release.

Since starting work at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School, Moynihan said he has appreciated the community’s kindness and their willingness to share their own stories about going to school there.

“All the people in this community who went here, or send their kids here now, they just have this enormous sense of pride in the school,” he said. “I’ve truly landed in such a wonderful place.”


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