Dr. Jennifer Mitchell named principal of Cider Mill

Dr. Mitchell succeeds Virginia “Ginny” Rico, who died on June 26 after a long illness. The appointment will be effective on Aug. 12.

For the past five years, Dr. Mitchell has served as the K-12 Program coordinator for reading and language arts for the Greenwich public schools. In this role she oversaw the implementation of language arts curriculum, assessments and instruction, supported school-based improvement plans, led a large department of instructional leaders, and designed a variety of professional learning initiatives.

Prior to her service in Greenwich, she was a program coordinator, reading specialist and classroom teacher. Since 2008 she has been an adjunct professor in the Educational Psychology Department of Western Connecticut State University.

A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Dr. Mitchell earned a master of arts degree from Sacred Heart University, a sixth year professional certificate in reading and language arts from Central Connecticut University, as well as her doctorate in instructional leadership from Western Connecticut State University.

“As part of the recruitment process, the Cider Mill Principal Search Committee sought to find an energetic, reflective educational leader with a clear vision and understanding of best practices in curriculum, instruction and assessment,” said Dr. Richards.

“They also were looking for a warm and approachable individual who had a demonstrated track record of working effectively with students, teachers, parents and district colleagues.

“We found such a leader, and we firmly believe that Dr. Mitchell’s professional experiences, training, strong interpersonal skills, and passionate commitment to improving learning for all students will be great assets to the strong, vibrant and positive learning community that exists at Cider Mill School.

Dr. Mitchell expressed her excitement at her new opportunity.

“I greatly look forward to leading and nurturing the vital learning community at Cider Mill School,” she said. “I am also excited about meeting and working with the greater school community and personally getting to know the families of Cider Mill School.

“Our common charge will be to move forward thoughtfully, and, with the best interests of our learners in our hearts.”

Dr. Mitchell will have large shoes to fill as she becomes principal at Cider Mill School. Ginny Rico was principal at the school from 2002 until her death on June 26 at the age of 69.

Known for being a mentor and friend to so many in Wilton public schools, she served as a subsitute at Miller-Driscoll, Strong Comstock and Middlebrook schools, as well at Cider Mill. A 1965 graduate of St. John’s University, Ms. Rico spent the majority of her career at Cider Mill, arriving full time in 1985.

Greenwich School Superintendent William McKersie was effusive in his praise for the new leader at Cider Mill School.

“Jen has served the GPS with distinction for many years. I will miss her energy and critical insights, all focused on what is best for our students and teachers. I know that she has wanted a new leadership challenge, so I am thrilled that she has landed a principalship in a wonderful school district.”