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The Start of Something New in Southington Schools

Students are often busy adjusting to new settings and classes this time of year, but there's an excitement around new staff as well with new principals taking the helm at Thalberg Elementary, South End Elementary and Kennedy Middle School.

It’s a new era at three Southington schools with the 2012-13 school year bringing the official introduction of principals Megan Bennett, Steven Madancy and James Quinn – and there’s a lot of excitement surrounding their arrival.

The newest Southington administrators have taken the helm with confidence and smiles, adjusting to their new settings over the last several days and all three said they are looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

“The staff has made it an easy transition. They’ve been so welcoming and warm,” said Bennett, the newest principal at . “The school already has a caring climate, so the primary goal these first couple weeks is to make sure we work together to convey that to students and parents.”

Board of Education member Patricia Johnson said she believes the board, , found several strong suitors. The board is looking forward to seeing what they can do, she said.

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Bennett comes to Southington from West Hill Elementary in Rocky Hill, where she began teaching in 2000 before spending three years as principal. She said with the school ear now underway, her focus will turn to meeting each of the students and finding the best way to prepare them for the future.

In the “touch” generation, she said the way children are receiving information has changed significantly and one of the challenges she will face is to continue to meet the expectations being set for the 21st century.

“We are poised and ready to meet those demands,” Bennett said.

Across town at the and nearby , Quinn and Madancy each said they are making similar adjustments, and doing so with a smile. In fact Quinn, who is returning to Southington where he served as the assistant principal at Derynoski Elementary School five years ago before taking a job at the Thomas Hooker Elementary in Meriden.

Before his first stint in Southington in 2003, Quinn worked at Gov. William Pitkin School in East Hartford as an Elementary Head Teacher. 

Quinn entered each of the classrooms during the first day of school last week and encouraged his students to introduce themselves.

“I went into each of the classrooms and told the students that if I learn five names per day, I will know them all by Halloween,” Quinn said. “I told the kids that if I come back and get their names wrong, just say ‘hello Mrs. Quinn’ and I will make sure to correct it.”

Quinn said with the new state standards, the entire school is starting fresh and it gives him an opportunity to learn and grow alongside the staff and students. He said the South End School is a tight knit community and he looks forward to seeing the school make continuous, positive changes.

It’s a sentiment that was shared by Madancy, who has already made a splash as the newest member of the team at Kennedy Middle School.

Madancy said it’s an exciting time to join the district, with the new sixth-grade class set to be the first to graduate from the fully renovated facility, as well as the first to go through the entire system while under his watch.

“I told the students they are about to embark on an amazing journey,” said Madancy, a former elementary school administrator. “This is a special group of kids and we are looking forward to going through this together.”

Madancy previously worked in a principal capacity for seven years in the Milford School district, first at Orange Avenue Elementary from 2005-2010 and at Pumpkin Delight Elementary from June 2010 until the end of the 2011-12 school year. From 1997 to 2004, Madancy worked in the Wallingford Public School system.

As the three newest members of the Southington schools administrative team continue to adjust, each said that listening and learning would remain a top priority.

“There’s a phrase I like to use, one that exemplifies the team effort,” Bennett said. “We have two ears and only one mouth, so we should listen twice as hard.”

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