Gill Elementary hires new principal


Staff Writer
Published: 6/3/2020 1:30:02 PM

GILL — Lisa Desjarlais has been hired as the new principal of Gill Elementary School. She will start July 1.

Desjarlais replaces Connor Driscoll, who has been principal for five years. Earlier this spring, Driscoll accepted a job as principal of Hatfield Elementary School, citing that it is similar to Gill Elementary but closer to his home.

Because Gill-Montague Regional School District Superintendent Michael Sullivan is retiring at the end of June, he chose the new principal in consultation with his successor, Brian Beck, who was chosen by the School Committee in March.

Desjarlais has been principal of Pelham Elementary School for the past 10 years. For 16 years before that she was a teacher at Mosier Elementary School in South Hadley. She has also served on the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s principal advisory council, and has experience working with special education, mental health and restorative practices.

“I’m a continuous learner,” she said. “It’s brought me to a place where I believe strongly in inclusive teaching processes. And I believe that students and teachers can succeed where expectations are high.”

She was interested in working at Gill Elementary, she said, because its student body size is similar to Pelham’s (about 130 students) and because of Gill’s emphasis on project-based teaching.

Visiting Gill Elementary in her interview process, she said, she connected easily with the staff and felt that it was a natural fit.

When school starts this fall, Desjarlais said, she expects to spend time getting to know students and their families, and working with the new superintendent to establish the new order of the district’s administration. The major challenge of the fall, she added, will no doubt be learning a new school community during the ongoing pandemic.

Reach Max Marcus at or 413-930-4231.


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