New principals in place for Western, Hop Brook

Laura Main

Laura Main

NAUGATUCK — The Board of Education hired two new elementary school principals last week after interviewing four finalists.

Kathryn Taylor, an administrative intern in the borough school system, will take over as principal of Hop Brook Elementary School. She replaces Evelyn Gobstein, who is retiring.

Laura Main, a math specialist at East School in New Canaan, will become principal of Western Elementary School, ending the shuffle caused by the retirement of Assistant Superintendent of Schools Brigitte Crispino.

The board on June 19 approved a contract for Christopher Montini, principal of Cross Street Intermediate School, to succeed Crispino as assistant superintendent, according to board Chairman David Heller. Montini will make a salary of about $140,000 in his new role, Heller said. Crispino’s earnings, including stipends, totaled about $143,000 this budget year.

Western Elementary School Principal Melissa Cooney will replace Montini at the school for fifth- and sixth-graders, and Main will replace Cooney.

“I am definitely ready to be a principal and I’ve been looking for the right position,” said Main, 43, of Newtown. “I have met some wonderful parents, wonderful staff and students in the district, and I am really excited to contribute to the team.”

Main has a bachelor’s degree in English from Cornell University, a master’s degree in early childhood and elementary education from Bank Street College of Education in New York and an educational leadership certificate from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. She is pursuing a doctorate in instructional leadership at Western Connecticut State University.

She has been a math specialist at the school for kindergarten through fourth grade for seven years and was a writing specialist before that. She spent 10 years as a teacher in the Westport district and taught first and second grades at a school in Hoboken, N.J.

Taylor, 48, of Naugatuck has bachelor’s degrees in elementary education and psychology, a master’s degree in remedial reading and language arts and an educational leadership certification from Southern Connecticut State University. She participated this year in the borough’s leadership internship program funded with state Alliance District money, which allowed her to take time out of the classroom to learn administrative practices.

“The feedback from all the building principals she worked with was very favorable,” Heller said

Taylor has worked in the Naugatuck school district for 12 years. She began as a part-time reading tutor after school and during the summer. She taught third grade at Central Avenue Elementary School for five years and worked as a reading specialist in both Western Elementary School and Naugatuck High School.

Taylor said that she had a chance to visit Hop Brook last Friday.

“First impression was that school was very welcoming,” Taylor said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the students, parents and staff. It’s also an exciting time in education because there’s a lot of change with common core state standards.”

Taylor said that she was looking forward to working with the teachers to meet those new demands.

Elementary school principals make a starting salary of $119,000 next school year, according to the administrators’ union contract.

Luke Marshall contributed to this article.

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