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New Leaders at Colebrook School

COLEBROOK — With the retirement of David Witt­mer, former principal and superintendent of Colebrook Consolidated School, the school has hired two new faces for the start of the 2007-08 school year. Dividing the positions, Beth Driscoll will be the new full-time principal and James Chitthum will be part-time superintendent.

While the two are still sorting out their duties, they shared some of their future plans during the school’s First Day celebration Wednesday.

“I, as the principal, will be involved with the day-to-day operations within the building,” said Driscoll, a former teacher and vice-principal in Simsbury.

Driscoll said she is eager to take a crack at being a principal. “One of the aspects I really like about the job is the outreach to parents,” she said. “It’s a personal interest of mine.”

One of Driscoll’s priorities will be to strengthen the communication and relationship between the school and the community. “I want to showcase the great things we are doing at the school,” she said. “With two of us it will make that easier.”

Another goal is to increase the use of technology by the students. With 30 new computers for the 117 children enrolled, kindergarten through sixth grade, “there will be a big focus on technology and getting the kids as much time as possible with the computers.”

Chitthum spent most of his career in the Brookfield school system. More recently he worked on short-term assignments in Litchfield and Somers.

“Colebrook was an opportunity for me to serve the community on a longer basis, work with a good and caring staff and involved parents, and to contribute what services I can on a part-time basis,” said Chitthum.

Last year, with the retirement of Wittmer, the Board of Education restructured the combined position of principal and superintendent to be two separate positions beginning July 1, 2007. Chitthum’s position allows him to work closely with the board and focus on strategic goals.

The goals are no easy feat. Curriculum, for instance, needs to be coordinated with four other schools in the Region 7 district.

“The four schools [Colebrook, Barkhamsted, Norfolk and New Hartford] and Region 7 work together to make sure there’s an articulation and coordination of the cirriculum,” said Chitthum. This way the elementary school students are equally prepared when entering the secondary school.

As for the rest of the staff at Colebrook, very little has changed. “The entire staff is returning,” said Driscoll. Two new paraprofessionals have been added to the 16 certified staff members.

Driscoll emphasized that volunteers to the school are always needed and greatly encouraged. As stated in a letter from Driscoll on the school’s Web site, “Through a variety of opportunities planned throughout the school year, all members of our larger school community can become involved in events that will strengthen the ties between our school and the community and help provide our children with the best Colebrook has to offer.”

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