School board names new principals

John Harris

NAUGATUCK — Two familiar faces will step into new leadership roles in the Naugatuck School District come July.

The Board of Education last week hired John Harris as the new principal of Naugatuck High School and Tiffany Deitelbaum as Salem Elementary School’s next principal. Harris and Deitelbaum will begin their new positions on July 1.

“I feel truly blessed to be part of such a strong, vibrant community that cares so deeply about the education of its students,” Harris said.

Harris is the associate principal at Naugatuck High, a position he started last July. Before starting at Naugatuck High, Harris worked as the K-12 social studies curriculum coordinator for Madison Public Schools from 2016 to 2017 and was a social studies teacher in the Madison school district from 2011 to 2016.

Harris holds a bachelor’s degree in education and history, and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Connecticut. He earned a sixth year degree in educational leadership from Quinnipiac University.

Board of Education Vice Chair Ethel Grant sat on the committees that interviewed Harris for both positions in Naugatuck.

“I was still amazed and impressed with John. He is very focused. He had a vision when he came in about teaching and learning,” Grant said. “I think he is going to do a wonderful job.”

Deitelbaum has spent her entire career as an educator in the Naugatuck school district.

Deitelbaum is the assistant principal at City Hill Middle School. Before being named City Hill’s assistant principal, she worked as an instructional coach from 2015 to 2017.

Deitelbaum started her career in 1996 teaching sixth and seventh grades. She worked as district math consultant from 2007 to 2011 and an eighth grade English language arts teacher from 2011 to 2015.

Tiffany Deitelbaum

Deitelbaum was the 2016 Naugatuck Teacher of the Year and a 2016 Connecticut Teacher of the Year semifinalist.

“I have spent my whole career here and I am really excited about the next step and next levels for Salem,” Deitelbaum said. “I promise I will not disappoint you.”

Deitelbaum holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in mathematics, and a master’s degree in reading. Both degrees are from Central Connecticut State University. She has a certificate of advanced studies in administration from Sacred Heart University.

“I think she is an asset to our school district. She will do an amazing job,” board member Jeff Litke said.

Harris will be paid $135,302 in the 2018-19 fiscal year, and Deitelbaum’s salary will be $127,885, according to Human Resources Director John Lawlor.

Harris and Deitelbaum will follow two longtime Naugatuck educators who are retiring.

Deitelbaum will replace Jennifer Kruge, who has spent 39 years as an educator in Naugatuck and 20 years as the principal of Salem.

Harris will be taking over for Jan Saam, who has worked for 37 years in Naugatuck schools. Saam has been at the high school for the past 14 years, becoming associate principal in 2004 and principal in 2011.

“Your leadership is going to live on at the high school in ways you can’t imagine,” Harris told Saam at last week’s meeting. “That building has your heart and soul in it,” Harris said.