DEEP RIVER— Jennifer Byars, a town native and Class of 1989 graduate of Valley Regional High School, has been hired as the new principal at the Deep River Elementary School. Byars, who begins working at the school in July, replaces Jack Pietrick, who is retiring in June after 13 years as principal of the kindergarten through sixth grade elementary school.
Byars, whose maiden name is Pallon, grew up in Deep River and graduated from Valley Regional High School. Byars has served as principal of the Gallup Hill Elementary School in Ledyard for the past four years. She lives in Deep River with her husband Tim, and daughter Addie.
Byars, a graduate of Smith College in Massachusetts, earned a masters in education and a doctorate degree in administration and supervision at the University of Virginia. She began her career in public education as a high school science teacher at the Augusta County, Virginia, and later worked as an assistant principal at the high school in Rockingham County, Virginia. Byars returned to Connecticut, and Deep River, in 2006, working as an assistant principal at the Juliet Long and Gales Ferry elementary schools in Ledyard. She assumed the principal job at the Gallup Hill Elementary School in 2008.
Byars said Tuesday she first learned of the principal opening at Deep River Elementary School in a school newsletter brought home by her daughter, a sixth grader at the school. Byars said she is thrilled to assume the leadership of the elementary school in her hometown. “You don’t often get that opportunity,” she said.
Byars was selected from a field of 71 applicants for the position. Region 4 Superintendent of Schools Ruth Levy said interview committees and the Deep River Board of Education, which made the hiring decision last week, were impressed with her “overall knowledge, commitment to excellence, strong leadership skills, exceptional personal style and commitment to students.”
“We are certain she will sustain and encourage an ongoing commitment to a culture of caring, high achievement, and mutual respect within a safe and productive school environment at Deep River Elementary School,” Levy said.