Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Shaps announced at the August 9 board meeting that Dr. John Goetz, former “Connecticut High School Principal of the Year” and an experienced superintendent, will serve as interim principal at Mamaroneck High School during the coming year, effective August 10. Dr. Goetz, who was interim principal last year at Stamford High School, has been in education for 41 years. Additionally, Dr. Shaps welcomed Katie Andersen, who began her role as assistant principal at Chatsworth Avenue School.
“We’re thrilled to bring on board a very experienced principal of two successful school systems and eager to welcome John to Mamaroneck Schools,” Dr. Shaps said, following a Board of Education meeting in which Dr. Goetz was approved by the seven member board. “We believe John’s collaborative and motivating style of leadership will create an atmosphere for growth at MHS and lay the groundwork for our next principal.”
The district began its search for a new principal following Dr. Mark Orfinger’s announcement of his retirement last April. When the search committee – made up of parents, students and staff — was unable to find the right candidate, it shifted its focus to finding an interim principal to lead the school during the 2010-2011 school year. A new search to fill the position on a permanent basis will begin in November.
Dr. Goetz says his mantra is to be caring and supportive, yet demanding and focused on increasing standards. “I think the key is to foster an environment in which kids, staff and parents feel comfortable …. letting them know we’re all in this together,” Dr. Goetz said. “We want the high school to be the center of these kids’ lives during the time they are here. The best way to be successful is to be involved, and there’s a lot to be involved with here. I believe there’s a ‘hook’ for every kid.”
Prior to his interim position last year in Stamford, Dr. Goetz served in numerous other capacities in Connecticut schools. He was Interim Superintendent of Schools for Monroe Public Schools for one year and Superintendent of Brookfield Public Schools for four years. From 1994-2003, he served as principal of Danbury High School, where among other things he implemented a broad-based program to integrate technology across the curriculum, and, before that, was principal at Orville H. Platt High School in Meriden. Dr. Goetz began his career as a social studies teacher and also spent time in the classroom as a special education teacher. His interest in athletics is reflected in his experience coaching boys basketball and girls softball, as well as a stint as a high school athletic director.
When asked what he loves most about high school aged students, Dr. Goetz doesn’t hesitate. “It’s the energy,” he said. “There’s something new every day.” Mr. Goetz did his doctoral work at Fordham University and received his Certificate of Advanced Study degree in Educational Administration from Fairfield University. He has four grown daughters, three granddaughters and another grandchild on the way.
Meanwhile, Chatsworth Avenue School Principal Gail Boyle said new Assistant Principal Katie Andersen has already hit the ground running. “She has jumped right into the work at Chatsworth. Her office reflects her interests, her focus on children and her breadth of knowledge related to teaching and learning. Katie also joined the district administrative team in planning meetings for the upcoming year. I am thrilled to be working with Katie and look forward to a wonderful year.”
Ms. Andersen came to Mamaroneck after spending eight years at a public elementary school in Manhattan, where she began as a third grade teacher and then moved on to become the school’s staff developer in math. For the past four years, she has served as assistant principal at a school in Chinatown. Ms. Andersen started her career in education teaching third and fourth grades at the Rutherford Elementary School in Monticello, NY. She has taken on numerous educational leadership roles, including serving as a presenter for two consecutive years at the Teacher’s Network annual conference focusing on modeling effective classrooms for future New York City teachers.
Debbie Manetta is public information officer for the Mamaroneck School District.