Most Ledyard Schools Will Open With New Principals, Familiar Faces

Four out of five Ledyard schools have a different principal this year.


As parents, students, faculty and staff prepare to go back to school and ready themselves for a new year, a new curriculum and a new set of friends, at least in the next wave of new faces, Ledyard’s four new principals are familiar faces.

School administrators accepted new positions within the district at the end of last year and during the weeks leading up to the new school year. Four out Ledyard’s five schools will have a different principal this year, all of which were promoted from within the district.

“We’re very excited,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Graner. “There are going to be a lot of changes coming to public education in the next few years so we think the new leadership will position us for a great place to implement these changes.”

In April, the Board of Education announced that , one of the teachers and administrators at the high school would replace this year.  And later, Dr. Pamela Austen, who was the assistant principal at Juliet W. Long School,  was hired to replace departing

All was still for a little while.

The shuffling started up again when principal Joe Chella accepted a principalship at another district and will leave in the early part of the year, according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Graner.

The resignation was not unexpected, according to Graner who said Chella was looking for a way to be closer to his children’s school.

“Mr. Chella has done an outstanding job for the last five years,” said Graner, “and we are indebted to him for his service to Ledyard’s children.”

Greg Keith was the principal of and will step up and be the new principal of Ledyard Middle School. Graner said prior to his principalship at the elementary school, Keith has been an administrator middle schools in Mystic and Stonington and was a middle school teacher for 13 years.

“He is an excellent administrator who is familiar with middle school curriculum and instruction,” wrote Graner in a letter to the school community. “I am convinced Mr. Keith will be a great asset to the school.”

Graner said that Dr. Susan Nash-Ditzel, who had been hired as assistant principal at will now be the principal of Ledyard Center School.

“Her extensive background in literacy will be a huge asset to the school,” he said.

Graner said Dr. Nash-Ditzel was an elementary school teacher and literacy specialist before earning a doctoral degree in literacy education at Rutgers University. He said she was a college teacher before she came to Ledyard school district.

Ledyard school psychologist Robin Lipman, who was once an interim assistant principal at the middle school, will fill Nash-Ditzel’s position for the year.

Principal Ann Hodgson remains the principal at Juliet W. Long School. .

Graner said that the schools are so well organized that orientation of new positions should run very smoothly. He said making sense of last year’s test scores while implementing a new curriculum will be the district’s major challenge.

“I realize that all these changes will present challenges for the schools, but we will work tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition for the students, staff, and parents.

Mary August 22, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Certainly the many changes in leadership in the schools are challenging for all involved. Fortunately, the Ledyard educational secretaries are extremely competent and well organized and will maintain a strong foundation for each of the schools.
rich vetrano August 23, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Gonna miss you Mr. Chella. You are a good man and friend. Wishing you the best of luck at your new school. Big congratulations to you as well Mr. Keith! Well deserved.


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