By Josh LaBella
In a move which he called a foregone conclusion for quite some time, Superintendent Neil Cavallaro has appointed Acting Principal Dana Parades for the official position. The Board of Education was scheduled to confirm the nomination during their meeting Tuesday night after press time.
Parades has been serving in the role since late Oct. when Principal Pam Gardner passed away. Cavallaro said in his recommendation letter to the board of education that during Gardner’s illness Parades had worked closely with Gardner and her administration to ensure staff needs were met, students were educated, and the school moved forward.
“Now, because of the leadership skills she’s demonstrated, in addition to her commitment and dedication to that school, I believe she deserves the opportunity to continue in that role and be formally appointed by the board of education as the next principal of West Haven High School,” said Cavallaro.
The letter pointed out that Parades is a life-long resident of West Haven and, therefore, a product of the district. It also noted that she was recently named the Connecticut Association of Schools’ High School Vice-Principal of the Year.
A press release by CAS cited Parades’s “single-minded drive to ensure success for every child in her care.”
“There’s nothing too big or too small that Dana won’t do to help childen,” said Christine El-Bakri, a WHHS parent, in the release.
Cavallaro said he supports Parades 100 percent. He said she has been loyal to the school district and, more importantly, the high school.
“She’s a tireless worker who puts her heart and soul into that school,” said Cavallaro. “We could go out and look, but you’re never going to find anybody as dedicated to our school district as Dana.”
Cavallaro said he anticipated the entire board would vote to approve Parades. He said the only question from the beginning was how much time was appropriate to let pass before filling Gardner’s position, which she had held for about 10 years.
The superintendent said Parades had been instrumental in the process of the construction project at WHHS, the most expensive project in city history. He said there was no one more prepared to meet the challenges which lied ahead than Parades.
“There’s nobody who understands the workings of West Haven High School better than Dana,” said Cavallaro. “She’s been doing it, is ready to do it, and I know will continue to do it as the principal.”