Back to where it all began


Career comes full circle for new Western principal

Brenda Goodrich
Brenda Goodrich

NAUGATUCK — Western Elementary School’s new principal will be headed back to the place her career started 18 years ago.

Brenda Goodrich, 41, began her career as a student teacher at Western in 1996. On Thursday, she was appointed principal of the school by the Naugatuck Board of Education.

“Western is a great school, and I’m excited about the opportunity to work with all of the teachers, students, parents and everyone involved in the school to continue to make it a great place to learn,” she said.

Goodrich, a Naugatuck native who attended borough schools through eighth grade, takes over for Laura Main, who has left the district after just one year. Goodrich, who starts on Monday, will make approximately $121,000 a year based on the administrators’ union contract.

A total of 41 people applied for the job and nine people were interviewed. Goodrich was the unanimous first choice, Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke said.

“She stood out to everyone, especially the parent representatives we had in the interviews,” Locke said.

Goodrich has a bachelor’s degree from Central Connecticut State University and a master’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University. She has a sixth-year degree in administrative leadership from Bridgeport University.

She has worked full time in Naugatuck since 2002, but was a reading assistant and reading tutor here before then. She also taught fifth grade in New Fairfield.

For the past year, she has been an administrative intern in the Naugatuck school district, going to various schools to learn from administrators. Naugatuck has had the administrative internship for two years, and so far it has been a success, serving as a breeding ground for future principals.

The internship program is funded through state grant money that the borough receives for being considered an alliance district. Alliance district schools are those among the 30 lowest performing school districts in the state on standardized tests.

Before her administrative internship, Goodrich was a reading specialist in the Naugatuck school system. In that role, she worked with students and faculty to advance student reading levels.

That experience will help her in her new job, teacher Nancy Sasso Janis said.

“It’s really important for an administrator to know what the teachers are implementing in their classrooms and to have that resource in the building is invaluable,” Janis said.

Board of Education Chairman Dave Heller said he believes Goodrich will be successful because of her enthusiasm for education.

“She just has so much excitement and energy that it’s really engaging,” he said. “She knows our system and will continue to do well here.”