WILTON — Just weeks after he took over as interim principal of Middlebrook School, Brian Fagan has resigned. Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith announced at Thursday’s Board of Education meeting that Fagan must step aside because of “an unavoidable personal situation.”

Fagan, an experienced school principal, stepped in to fill a vacancy that arose when former principal Lauren Feltz left to become principal of Deep River Elementary School in Deep River, Conn.

In Fagan’s place, Dean of Students James “Jory” Higgins will take over as acting principal for the coming school year.

“He’s proven himself to be a champion of all students,” Smith said, noting he’s worked as a Wilton administrator for 21 years. Higgins has been dean of students since 1999.

“He is very well liked and highly respected by the Middlebrook staff ... I know he'll bring tremendous leadership,” he said.

“You’ve got your work cut out for you,” Chair Deborah Low told Higgins, who did not comment on the new appointment. “It’s a huge challenge ahead but we have no doubt that you’re gonna rise to that.”

During his tenure in Wilton, Higgins has worked across multiple subject areas, including special services, where he helped to build and expand the support center program. He was also a founding member of the Task Force to Combat Underage Substance Abuse, has served on Wilton’s Security Task Force, and chaired the building’s School Safety Committee.

Prior to his role at Middlebrook School, Higgins taught at the Ina E. Driscoll School (which later merged

with Tilford W. Miller School to become Miller-Driscoll School).

“Throughout his tenure in the district, Mr. Higgins has proven himself to be a champion for all students and a highly collaborative colleague,” press release from the district said.

With Higgins now serving as acting principal, the district will seek a dean of students. A formal search for Middlebrook principal in will begin in the spring of 2021.

Jarret Liotta contributed to this story.