Central Berkshire school leaders jump into the new year in their new roles


Photo Gallery | New principals in the Central Berkshire Regional School District

DALTON — Some familiar faces are taking fresh takes for the new school year in the Central Berkshire Regional School District.

Last year, the district found itself managing some major transitions after closing the operation of Berkshire Trail Elementary School, promoting a new superintendent and beginning the formal process of pursuing state support for capital improvements to the more than 50-year-old Wahconah Regional High School — among other projects.

This year, though there are some administrative shifts and new positions and assignments in the district, Superintendent Laurie Casna — now in her second year of the role — says the district feels more stable.

"Things feel so much more consistent than last year," she told The Eagle on Wednesday, the first full day back for students and staff collectively.

Returning to Wahconah, albeit in new roles, were Aaron Robb, who was promoted from vice principal to principal, and Steve Messina, who was promoted from dean of students vice principal. Casna said the success of this transition was due in great part to James Conro, who retired as principal at the end of last school year, being mindful of giving Robb and Messina ample time to prepare.

In other administrative moves, Tracey Tierney is the new principal for Nessacus Regional Middle School, and Annie Pecor has stepped into the vice principal role at Craneville Elementary School. The women are both new to the district but have been living and teaching in the Berkshires.

Casna said that while Tierney — who moved to the middle school after serving as principal of Hancock Elementary School — will be learning new names and faces, she's supported by Assistant Principal Tracey Goodrich, Nessacus's former principal and another veteran for the district.

"It's kind of exciting. It's good to have new energy and new perspectives while also having veterans," Casna said.

Last school year, Debbie White and Kathy Buckley, also longtime district administrators, swapped roles, with White now serving as principal at Craneville and Buckley serving as both principal and a teacher at Kittredge Elementary School in Hinsdale.

This year the district also welcomed some new teachers, paraprofessionals and staff, including a board certified behavioral analyst, a new accounting coordinator, and created the role of a digital learning teacher. The latter job is being taken on by Mary Kay McCloskey, a former third grade teacher at the district's Becket Washington School.

As Central Berkshire's leader, Casna said the district's collective goal is set on "continuing to do the work we did last year," which includes continuing to align curriculum across elementary schools and through the progression of grades. Other efforts include continuing to develop and fill out the district's new website; increase collaborations across schools; acclimate to a new student information management system, and continue to pursue a capital improvement feasibility study for Wahconah under the auspices of the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

"Otherwise, we're just aiming to have good communication and making sure people are comfortable and aware of what we're doing," Casna said.

Reporter Jenn Smith can be reached at 413-496-6239.


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