Gill-Montague secondary school principal selected

  • Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School

Staff writer
Published: 4/15/2019 11:15:01 PM

MONTAGUE – Like many incoming sixth-graders, Joanne Menard will be the “new kid on the block” at Gill-Montague’s secondary school.

As of July 1, Menard will be the new principal at Great Falls Middle School and Turners Falls High School.

According to a press release on Monday, Menard has accepted the position pending successful contract negotiations, which should be complete later this week.

Menard has been the principal of Petersham Center School for the past four years. Prior to that, she was an instructional coach in Medway, and a middle school science teacher in Spencer-East Brookfield, in addition to holding other teaching and private sector positions.

She has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University, a master’s from Anna Maria College, and she is working on a doctorate at the University of Hartford.

Superintendent Michael Sullivan said Menard was the universal choice of the search committee, and the feedback from a visit to her school and at the secondary school has generated lots of positive energy.

“I think Joanne possesses the rare combination of personal traits and leadership skills that make her both a strong builder of positive school culture and a clear-eyed director of change where it is needed,” Sullivan said. “She is both relationship-focused and results-oriented and I think she will be a good fit for our middle and high school and the larger school community.”

After reviewing 16 applications and interviewing five candidates, a 12-member search committee selected Paul Goodhind and Menard as the finalists for the position.

Members of the search committee include student Jade Tyler, parent Christina Postera, parent Pamela Reynolds, community member Francia Wisnewski, social studies teacher Jennifer Luciano, physical education teacher David Kennedy, social studies teacher Jennifer Renehan, math teacher Donna Fowler, special education teacher Crystal Landry, Pupil Services Director Dianne Ellis, School Committee Vice President Heather Katsoulis and Jane Goodale, a paraprofessional in the middle school.

The search began after Annie Leonard, principal for the last three years, announced she would be taking a medical leave beginning in mid-February “due to an illness requiring surgery.”

“She plans to return to work as soon thereafter as possible,” wrote Sullivan in a Jan. 19 press release. “In addition, she will resign her position at the end of the school year in June. I am sure that Principal Leonard will continue to retain her singular focus on doing what is best for our students in the months ahead as she has for the last three and a half years.”

In Leonard’s absence, Kathi Smith became acting principal at the high school. She was hired in the summer of 2018 to be vice principal at the secondary school.


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