Enfield's JFK Middle School welcomes new principal

By Calla Vassilopoulos - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Fri., Aug. 23, 2013
Sarah Collins was selected to serve as interim principal. Courtesy photos. - Contributed Photo

With the start of the school year just around the corner, changing administrators in August can be hectic, but John F. Kennedy Middle School has adjusted and is ready to begin, according to Enfield Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeffrey Schumann.

In mid-August, former principal Timothy Van Tassel gave a letter of resignation addressed to Schumann. The letter said he was taking a position as assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and human resources in the East Hampton Public Schools District. Schumann and others in the central office of Enfield Public Schools were aware of his application process, according to the superintendent. He said Van Tassel recently completed an executive leadership program at the University of Connecticut and was looking to work at the central office level.

“He's done a tremendous job here in Enfield. He's worked as an elementary and a middle school principal,” said Schumann. “He's a forward thinker and he's going to bring a lot of experience and good ideas to East Hampton when he gets there.”

Prior to Van Tassel's role as John F. Kennedy principal, he held the position at Eli Whitney Elementary School. For him, leaving Enfield brought mixed emotions due to the significant impact the town had on him as a child and in his career, according to his resignation letter. Even so, he looks forward to the next chapter in his career.

Before leaving Van Tassel assisted the school in the leadership transition to ensure JFK would have smooth opening this academic year. The district selected Sarah Collins, a former Housemaster at JFK, to serve as interim principal of JFK. Collins has worked as an assistant principal at the school for the last nine years.

As for Collins previous position, JFK has chosen Sarah Brown as the interim housemaster. Brown, a general music teacher at the school, has been with the school for the last eight years. Come spring, the district will likely open both positions to permanent applicants, according to Schumann.

“It's our largest school, we want to have a consistent and smooth opening, and we want them to know there is some consistency in the leadership at the building level,” said Schumann.

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