New Canaan's West Elementary School Gets New Principal

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Jan M. Murphy will take over as the next principal of West Elementary School in New Canaan on July 1.
Jan M. Murphy will take over as the next principal of West Elementary School in New Canaan on July 1. Photo Credit: New Canaan Schools
Jan M. Murphy will take over as the next principal of West Elementary School on July 1.
Jan M. Murphy will take over as the next principal of West Elementary School on July 1. Photo Credit: File

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- Jan M. Murphy has been hired as the next principal of West Elementary School and will take over her duties on July 1, the school district announced Monday, April 28.

“We are excited to welcome such an accomplished educational leader as a member of our district," said New Canaan Superintendent Mary Kolek. "Jan has been consistently characterized as a caring, highly effective, innovative educator and highly collaborative team member and promises to be a strong fit for a leadership team that values such attributes and efforts.”

Murphy will replace longtime New Canaan educator Joanne LaVista, who has been acting principal of West Elementary School. She plans to retire at the end of June after a 34-year career with the district. (Read about her retirement announcement here on the Daily Voice.)

Murphy comes to the New Canaan Public Schools from Wallingford Public Schools, where she most recently served as principal from 2008-12 at the Cook Hill School, which serves kindergarten through second grade. She has spent a sabbatical year devoted to exploring 21st-century innovation as part of a team for the Wallingford Public Schools.

She is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree. She also holds a master's degree in education from the University of Houston, a sixth-year degree from University of Connecticut and a seventh year that includes an emphasis on mathematics education and gifted/talented education.

Her professional background includes experience as a STEP teacher (gifted/talented for grades three to five), math specialist (for gifted/remedial) and grade five teacher. She was recognized as Wallingford Administrator of the Year 2009, Connecticut State Teacher of the Year Semifinalist 2005-06 and Wallingford Teacher of the Year 2005-06.

Gary Kass, director of human resources for the New Canaan schools, led the elementary principal search committee. The committee included Jill Correnty, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction; Darlene Pianka, assistant superintendent of pupil and family services; Greg Macedo, principal of Saxe Middle School; Joanne Rocco, principal of South Elementary School; Glenda Green, language arts coordinator; Scott Gress, Board of Education member; Janet Fonss and Caryn Kelly, West School PTC presidents; Joanna Tamburro and Francine Gurtler, West School teachers; Courtney Langford and Patty Zoccolillo, East School PTC Presidents; and Anne Gesauldi and Claudia Monaco, East School teachers.

New Canaan also hired a new principal for East Elementary School. Read that story here on the Daily Voice.

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