New faces in new places across Berlin schools

Published on Tuesday, 29 August 2017 23:00
Written by Charles Paullin

Staff Writer

BERLIN - Schools across the district have new administrators in place as the school year opens.

David Kitzman, formerly the assistant principal at McGee Middle School, is the new principal at Griswold Elementary School, replacing Laurie Gjerpen, who became the director of language arts and social studies for the district. Gjerpen replaces Debra Thibault, who retired in June.

Timothy Chiaverini, formerly a math teacher at Norwich Free Academy, fills Kitzman’s vacancy at McGee.

Megan Sirois, formerly a teacher at Hubbard Elementary School, will be the new assistant principal for both Griswold and Willard elementary schools. She replaces Griswold Assistant Principal Pauline Greer, now principal of Alfred W. Hanmer Elementary School in Wethersfield, and Natalie Hammond, assistant principal at Willard Elementary School, now principal of Redding Elementary School in Redding.

Alfrez Souza and Kara Watson are remaining as principal and assistant principal, respectively, at Hubbard Elementary School.

“It’s been a busier summer with hiring,” said School Superintendent David Erwin, saying this amount of change is not normal. “It’s nice to see the three (former) assistant principals move in higher positions,” he added, while admitting it’s sad to see the others leave.

The changes come as Berlin High School Principal Francis Kennedy recently was granted a leave of absence from Nov. 2 through June 30, 2018, and then resigned effective June 30, 2018.

Kennedy will be starting at the New England Association of Schools and Colleges as associate director of the Commission on Public Schools in November, and said he will be helping with finding a replacement.

Erwin announced his retirement, effective Jan. 2, 2018, in June. Assistant Superintendent Brian Benigni will be his replacement as the district will look to fill Benigni’s old position.

Police Chief Paul Fitzgerald announced his retirement, effective October, in July.

The town has been operating with a temporary and interim town manager since January after the Town Council voted to accept a separation agreement between former town manager Denise McNair and the town.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, General News on Tuesday, 29 August 2017 23:00. Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2017 23:03.