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Northfield Elementary names new principal

  • Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Diane Ellis, the current principal of the Pleasant Street elementary school in Orange, and a candidate for the position of principal at the Northfield Elementary school, responds to the questions of parents at the school, seated beside Ruth Miller, the superintendent of the Pioneer Valley Regional school district, Wednesday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt



For the Gazette
Monday, April 11, 2016

NORTHFIELD — Megan Desmarais accepted an offer to be the next Northfield Elementary School principal on Thursday, a day after she and the other finalist spoke at community forums in the school’s cafeteria.

Ruth Miller, the superintendent of the Pioneer Valley Regional School District, said Desmarais was the clear choice due to an impressive application and positive feedback from the public.

“We are delighted to have Megan, we really are,” Miller said. “She’s going to be a great asset to our school district.”

Desmarais is a fourth-grade teacher at Deerfield Elementary School.

Diane Ellis, an elementary school principal in the Athol-Royalston Regional School District, was the other finalist for the position.

The two had a question-and-answer forum in the school cafeteria, with around 50 people in attendance, on Wednesday.

During the forum, Miller interviewed each candidate, and those in attendance were also allowed to ask questions. Topics discussed included technology, parent-teacher involvement and communication among parents, teachers, students and the community.

Desmarais will succeed retiring Principal Tom King. She was among 23 applicants who were originally considered by the search committee.

Desmarais, who does not have administrative experience, spoke about her experiences at Deerfield Elementary School and avoiding conflict and building trust.

“Relationships build trust, and without trust the hard work cannot be done,” she said. “Things will come up, conflict will come up, but I want students to know that they can be heard and understood.”

Desmarais added that it is important for a principal to not just deal with resistance, but understand it, as well.

“I think resistance to change comes from lack of understanding,” Desmarais said. “It’s important to understand when someone is making change what is the other side, why is there reluctance to change.”