Wilton announces new Middlebrook School principal, dean

The Wilton Public Schools Board of Education unanimously approved the school district Superintendent Kevin Smith’s recommendation to appoint James “Jory” Higgins as principal and Nicole Querzé as dean of students of Middlebrook School, the school district said in a recent release.

The administrators are well known to students, and families, having served in these roles on an interim basis since the start of the 2020-21 academic year and having had “a proven record of success in the Wilton Public Schools prior to this school year,” according to the district.

Higgins, a Wilton resident, joined the Wilton Public Schools in 1995 as a third grade teacher at Ina E. Driscoll School, later becoming a dean of students at Middlebrook Middle School in 1999. He served in that role for 21 years, working closely with students, staff, and families and establishing himself as a “highly collaborative, student-centered educator” that the district values greatly.

Higgins chaired numerous committees during this time, including the Student Assistance Team, the Pupil Study Team and the Emergency Operations Committee.

He also served as a building liaison to the Parent Advisory Board and was a founding member of the Task Force to Combat Underage Substance Abuse and served on the community’s Security Task Force.

“Mr. Higgins has done an exemplary job as interim principal of Middlebrook School during the 2020-21 school year. In the past eight months, Mr. Higgins has led the school through a period of unprecedented transition, navigating the pandemic, the shift through multiple learning models, and the resignations of both the previous and interim principals. As anticipated, he has been a unifying and calming force during a period of global uncertainty, and his unwavering commitment to doing what is best for students has been reaffirmed repeatedly,” the school district said in the release. Higgins holds a bachelors degree from Wheeling Jesuit College, a masters degree from Sacred Heart University, and a Sixth Year Certificate from the University of Connecticut.

Nicole Querzé has been employed by the Wilton Public Schools since 2012.

Querzé began her tenure in Wilton as a special education teacher, going on to assume additional responsibilities including: crisis management district trainer, special education instructional leader and club advisor. Prior to joining the Wilton Public Schools, Querzé served as an autism and inclusion specialist for the Darien Public Schools, a special education teacher for Cooperative Education Services and an early childhood interventionist in California.

She holds a bachelors degree from James Madison University, a masters degree from Southern Connecticut State University and a Sixth Year Certificate from Sacred Heart University.

During her time as a dean of students at Middlebrook School, Querzé assumed a myriad of responsibilities, including Emergency Operations Committee Chair, oversight of special services and STRIDE subjects and working closely with various teams and grade levels across the building. Her insight into how students develop in their learning process and grow, coupled with her organizational skills, have made her a valuable asset to the building-based and district leadership teams.

“Jory and Nicole possess an impressive skill set that has served the Middlebrook community tremendously well during this chaotic and uncertain time,” Smith said of the appointments. “Observing their work this year, it was clear that no further search to fill these positions was necessary. I could not be more proud of their efforts and have complete confidence they will continue to provide outstanding leadership.”