In the latest in a series of staff changes in the Meriden schools, Superintendent Dr. Mark Benigni introduced three new school leaders at Tuesday night’s meeting. All three appointments take effect July 1.
Dr. Lysette Torres will become principal of for the upcoming school year. Torres has served as assistant principal at Lincoln Middle School for the past six years. She steps into the shoes of outgoing Roger Sherman principal Louise Moss, who is moving to Thomas Hooker Elementary to take the leadership role there.
Elsie Torres-Brown will be new principal. She will leave her current position as instructional associate at Hanover Elementary. She replaces current John Barry principal Karen Dahn, who will become principal at Nathan Hale Elementary.
Heather Verdi, new to Meriden, will take over as assistant principal at next year. She has served as social studies division chair for grades 6 – 12 in the New Britain school district for the past 12 years. She takes the position formerly held by David Levenduski, who recently stepped into the head position at Benjamin Franklin Elementary.
In introducing the three new administrators, Benigni said, “It’s all about putting students first. That’s the message that came through loud and clear during the interview process.”
Congratulating new administrators is getting to be old hat at Meriden school board meetings. For next school year, eight Meriden schools have a change in administration. The changes affect three quarters of the principals in the district.
The changes began with the retirement of two principals effective at the end of this school year--Tom Brown at Casimir Pulaski School and Judy Seldner at Nathan Hale. Other experienced administrators from the district were chosen to take their places, setting off a chain reaction throughout the district.
Dr. Torres, new leader of Roger Sherman, is just the latest change in that chain. Born and raised in Meriden, she lives in the Roger Sherman school district and has two sons, aged 4 and 6. She earned her undergraduate degree from Penn State and her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Bridgeport. She thanked her family for their support and said she was looking forward to taking on her new role.
Elsie Torres-Brown, John Barry’s new principal, has worked at Hanover for seven years, and before that, at Roger Sherman for two years. She interned under Hanover principal Dr. Miguel Cardona while earning her leadership degree from Southern Connecticut State University and thanked him at the meeting for mentoring her.
Cardona was equally effusive in his praise for her.
“She is a dedicated, hardworking professional who’s going to work well with parents,” he said. “She has a passion for kids.”
Torres-Brown, whose 12-year-old daughter presented her with flowers, thanked her family and the interview committee for believing in her and said she is looking forward to working with the John Barry family.
Heather Verdi, new assistant principal at Platt, has taught in the New Britain school system for 20 years. The mother of three boys aged 6, 13 and 14, she lives in Southington.
“I can’t wait to get to know you all,” she told the board members, teachers and administrators in attendance. “Thank you for the warm welcome.”