By SHERIDAN ROY
The Southington Board of Education chair selected Chris Palmieri as the new principal of DePaolo Middle School.
The current principal of DePaolo, Frank Pepe, was recently selected to serve as the new principal of Southington High School.
Palmieri is currently the DePaolo assistant principal and has served in that capacity for 14 years. He also chairs the Town Council as a Democrat.
“Words cannot describe how humbled I am to receive this appointment,” said Palmieri. “I’m here because I’m fortunate enough to have friends, family and colleagues who support me in all my efforts. I believe nothing is done alone—success is achieved as a result of synergy from all involved.”
Palmieri said his students would always be his first priority, regardless of other roles and capacities he serves in outside of school.
“Anyone who knows me, especially those I work with, knows that I do put my students first,” he said. “I believe I need to provide them the highest quality education in a safe and nurturing environment.”
The BOE selected Palmieri in a 7-2 vote of the board, with chair Brian Goralski and member Joe Baczewski, both Republicans, voting against it.
“When I found out you were in the running for the position, I was certainly proud that again, another home-grown candidate from Southington could be in such a position,” said Baczewski. “I tend to be very seated in my convictions of keeping things separate. I know what the principal-ship of our middle schools need. It’s a lot of hours, a lot of time.”
Baczewski said he has the utmost respect for Palmieri, but he hopes he will “exercise carefulness” and make sure he has the time to be the best he can be for JAD.
In Palmieri’s absence, the BOE also filled the position of the JAD assistant principal. The board unanimously approved Robert Lasbury, former head of the math department at SHS, to the position. Lasbury said he would not let the board down.
“Thank you for the trust and confidence you’re showing in my abilities to join the leadership team at DePaolo Middle School,” he said. “Having had three children attend and thrive at DePaolo, I know firsthand the great work that goes on every day.”
Lasbury said it is bittersweet to leave behind the position he served for 21 years, but he is “honored to remain in the district.” He looks forward to working with Palmieri and continuing to implement the vision of a graduate.
The board also unanimously hired Lee Clark, former dean of students at CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering in Windsor, for the assistant principal of SHS position that opened when Jeffrey Shaw retired at the end of the school year.
“I am so excited to be here tonight and even more excited to begin my role as one of the new assistant principals at Southington High School,” said Clark. “I have a great passion for teaching, learning and leading. I feel honored to join an exceptional teaching staff here and strong leadership team at Southington.”