New Algonquin principal greets students with treat
PROSPECT — Students received more than just a sugar free grape, orange or cherry Popsicle from Algonquin School’s new principal on the first day of school Wednesday.
They got to know a little more about Rima McGeehan.
McGeehan, of Waterbury and former Kent Center School principal, visited every classroom with boxes of Popsicles, which were provided by the PTO. She pushed the snacks on a metal cart, and at each stop, she asked the students questions or they had some for her.
“Good afternoon, Dr. McGeehan,” each class chirped when McGeehan wheeled her ice-cold loot into the rooms.
In one exchange, the students asked if she wakes up early, and if she was tired.
“Oh yes,” McGeehan replied. “I wake up very early. I should be more tired than I am because I got up at 4:30 this morning.”
While McGeehan started her first day with students Wednesday, other administrators, faculty and staff started theirs in Region 16. The district serves Beacon Falls and Prospect schools.
Superintendent of Schools Tim James said each school had an excellent opening first day. He visited each school to make sure their day went well, he said.
Algonquin opened to 466 students Wednesday. The school on Coer Road serves pre-kindergarten through third-grade students.
McGeehan said she has been very impressed with the students’ greetings, their manners and how quickly they were at work but still enjoying learning.
“We are really off to a great start,” McGeehan said.
She described her leadership style as collaborative, and that she is a hard worker and approachable. The first year here will involve a lot of observation and learning about the staff, students and community, she said.
“So my goal is really to assess what is really valued at Algonquin and look to see where we can improve because both of those things are so critical,” she said.
Before she joined Kent Center School, she worked at Gainfield Elementary School in Southbury, first as a fourth-grade teacher and then as a reading consultant.
McGeehan was determined to visit each class that day. Before departing for another room, she told Marty Senich’s class that, “My favorite day is a day that I can get in every single classroom. Those are my favorites, and that’s my goal for the year is to see you every single day.”
Now she won’t have Popsicles, she said, but she will try to see them every day.
In Elena Guerra’s class, the students asked interview questions of McGeehan. A student asked what her favorite sport was.
“My favorite sport is college basketball,” she said. “I love the UConn Huskies. I especially love the boys’ team.”
Another asked if she has any pets. She doesn’t, she said, but she does have two sons, 2-year-old River and 5-month-old Ryder.
“If I could have a pet, it would be a Labrador retriever dog,” she said.