SOUTHINGTON – DePaolo Middle School Vice-Principal Chris Palmieri will succeed Frank Pepe as the new principal starting July 1, bringing with him more than 21 years of experience in the district.
Palmieri is also the chairman of the Town Council.
Palmieri has been vice-principal for 14 years, but he started his career teaching sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students at Kennedy Middle School. He was first hired in the Southington district in 1998 and was a substitute before that.
“I’m very excited to begin this new role – we have a phenomenal staff at DePaolo, students who are eager learners and parents who are very supportive,” said Palmieri. “I look forward to working with them to make sure that all of our students are successful.”
Palmieri said that his philosophy as a school administrator is to “always put kids first.” He says he likes to be involved at the middle school level because it is an important transition time in students’ lives.
“These are the years where we can really play a key part in shaping students into the people they’ll become,” he said.
Palmieri praised the other staff in the school for helping students to set up clubs, coming up with personalized plans to suit individual needs and stepping up to make sure that students in need of financial assistance get the help they need.
Palmieri said that his goal is to make sure students feel that they are in a safe environment, both emotionally and physically, and to ensure that DePaolo is a bully-free school.
Palmieri also hopes to continue two programs that were implemented this year. One program focuses on teaching students the “four Cs” – creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication. The other program teaches students “emotional intelligence” based on a model which Palmieri learned about at Yale a couple years ago.
“We want to make sure that kids can identify their feelings and regulate their emotions, which will help to ensure optimal learning,” he said. “We teach them skills to adjust, optimize and regulate their feelings.”
Palmieri said that “emotional intelligence” is being incorporated in schools district-wide.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.