The Mansfield Board of Education at a special meeting last week unanimously approved hiring Thanh Nguyen as the new principal for Mansfield Middle School. The vote was 8-0; board Chair Mark LaPlaca was absent.
Though his official appointment was July 10, he actually started work at his new position July 1 in anticipation of his approval. He will earn $134,754 this year.
Former Principal Jeff Cryan retired as of June 30 and was also earning $134,754.
During an informal conversation with Nguyen during the board meeting, Vice Chair Shamim Patwa said she’s looking forward to having Nguyen “carve his own path” in the district.
Nguyen said, “What’s nice about Mansfield is the staff is so engaged.”
Nguyen was recommended by a search committee that included parents, teachers, administrators and board of education members.
He has extensive experience working in school districts, including most recently in Griswold, CT where he was principal at the middle school from 2006 to 2012.
Nguyen was also assistant principal at Griswold Middle School from 2005-07 and, as part of his responsibilities in that position, was also principal of Griswold Alternative High School from 2005-07.
In addition, he was dean of students at Saghalie Middle School in Federal Way, WA from 2002-04 and a physical education teacher in Worcester, MA from 1997-2002.
“Thanh comes to us with a strong passion for the well-being of all students and with abilities to bring excitement, compassion, and a variety of instructional strategies, all designed to improve student learning outcomes,” Superintendent Fred Baruzzi said in a recent letter issued to the middle school community. “He is dedicated to nurturing and enhancing a professional learning community which will build upon an existing culture of learning and achievement at Mansfield Middle School.”
Cryan worked in the district for two decades.
He was hired as assistant principal of the middle school in July 1992 and became interim principal in July 2002. He took over the position permanently in December 2002.
Although he is sad to see Cryan go, LaPlaca said, he is looking forward to working with Nguyen.
“I was impressed with Mr. Nguyen’s passion for education, combined with his middle school experience,” LaPlaca said in a recent e- mail. “Mansfield Middle School is a special place, and I certainly look forward to seeing the impact he can make there as he joins our successful administrative team.”
Nguyen said in a telephone interview his focus now is to “understand the culture” of the district before making any changes to programs, processes or curriculum.
Nguyen said he spent a few days with Cryan and was impressed with the level of knowledge he had about the school system. “You have to walk your own path, all the same,” he said.
With about two weeks in his new job, the transition is going smoothly for Nguyen, he said.
He noted some teachers at the middle school helped interview candidates for vacant positions over the summer. “That just tells you the level of commitment to the school,” he said.
Posted July 17, 2012 as edited by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan
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