Southington schools welcome three new principals

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By TAYLOR HARTZ
STAFF WRITER

The Southington Board of Education appointed three new principals last week, welcoming the new administrators to Southington High School and Strong and Hatton elementary schools.

During a special meeting on May 21, the board recognized Brian Stranieri as the new principal of Southington High School. Stranieri has been serving as interim principal at the high school since Martin Semmel’s departure from the district in March.

When Stranieri spoke at last week’s Board of Education meeting and said he is excited to start working as the high school’s principal, superintendent Connellan laughed and assured the overflowing audience that the new principal has already been working very hard in the position.

Amidst his long-term career in the Southington school system, Stranieri earned four degrees in education from Central Connecticut State University. In 1999, the principal earned a six-year degree in educational leadership, following his master’s plus-30 degree in 1996, his master’s degree in technology education in 1982, and his bachelor’s degree in technology education in 1981.

He began his career with an associate’s degree in architecture and building construction from Dean College in Franklin, Mass., in 1978.

Before becoming the high school’s interim principal, Stranieri served as an assistant principal at Southington High School for 13 years, where he supervised grade 12 students and the Early Intervention Program (EIP) team. He was involved with supervision of the agricultural sciences, art, family and consumer sciences, music, physical education and health, and technical education departments. He also served as an administrative liaison for the building maintenance staff.

The board also introduced two new elementary school principals to the district, each receiving a salary of $136, 000.

Strong Elementary School welcomes new principal Melissa Barbuto. Barbuto has been working as the principal of Lawrence Elementary School in Middletown since December 2012, following two years as the assistant principal of Hamden High School. In 2010 she served as an adjunct professor at the Saint Joseph College Graduate School of Education, following more than eight years as a kindergarten, first grade, and fourth grade teacher at Dunbar Hill Elementary School in Hamden.

Barbuto received four degrees from Southern Connecticut State University, including a sixth year certificate in educational leadership in 2010, a master’s degree in elementary education in 2007, and bachelor’s degrees in elementary education and psychology in 2002.

Throughout her career she has chaired district data subcommittees and provided certificate training to district teachers and administrators focusing on data teams and data driven decision-making programs.

“I look forward to building relationships and working with each of you” said Barbuto to the crowd of parents, teachers and school staff members at the board meeting on May 28.

Robert W. Garry was introduced as the new principal of Hatton Elementary School. Garry comes to Southington from South Side School in Bristol where he has been the principal since 2013, following seven years as the principal of Bristol’s North East Middle School.

“I think this means we are officially moved in,” said Garry of becoming a Southington principal two years after moving his family to Southington from Bristol.

Prior to working as a principal in Bristol, Garry worked for two years as the assistant principal of Lake Garda Elementary School in Burlington. He received his sixth year certificate in educational leadership from the University of Connecticut in 2005, a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Hartford in 2002, and a bachelor’s degree in politics and government in 1991.

Garry began his career in 1993 as an elementary school teacher for second, third, and fifth grade classes, along with gifted and talented programs for public schools in Bristol and Torrington. During his 22 years in education and administration, he has served his districts in many ways, including his work with the Bristol Public School report card revision committee and served as the district coordinator for the ESPN Play Your Way Program.

“On behalf of the board we can’t tell you how excited we are to have you aboard,” BOE Chairman Brian Goralski said to the new principals.

Robery Garry, principal of Hatton Elementary School.

Robert Garry, principal of Hatton Elementary School.

Brian Stranieri, principal of Southington High School.

Brian Stranieri, principal of Southington High School.

Melissa Barbuto, principal of Strong Elementary School.

Melissa Barbuto, principal of Strong Elementary School.

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