Photo from NWR7 High School's Facebook page
Photo from NWR7 High School's Facebook page
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WINSTED — East Hartland resident Gary Franklin has been named the new principal for Northwestern Regional High School.
Franklin is replacing Kenneth Chichester, who retired this school year after a 42-year career at the school.
“To me, Kenneth is the face of Northwestern,” Franklin said in an interview with The Winsted Phoenix. “His impact on the community and the lives of students and families is incredible. I just think that his role in my life and my professional development in the past four years is incredible. I’ve had a front-row seat on how he approached difficult situations, how he addressed issues within the school, and how he treated people. He’s done it with such class and grace. He was always very patient with everybody, myself included. He was a teacher even though he wasn’t in the classroom anymore. His influence on Northwestern was setting the framework of a family-type atmosphere here. It’s something that works and I look forward to continuing it.”
Franklin graduated from Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Central Connecticut State University in 2006.
He continued at CCSU and earned his Master of Science degree in educational leadership in 2014.
Franklin went on to earn his Sixth Year Certificate in Educational Leadership in 2016.
During his educational career, Franklin worked at Thomaston High School from 2008 to 2012, then worked at Newtown High School from 2012 to 2016.
“During my time at Newtown, that’s where I made my transition from classroom teacher to a career in administration,” he said. “Over time, I became the chairman of the social studies department and I became a dean as well.”
Since 2016, Franklin has served as House II Assistant Principal.
He is currently the Director of Student Activities and works closely with the Student Senate, Class Officers, and other student organizations.
Franklin said that he is looking forward to the new school year, along with a return to in-person classes.
“What I would like to continue is the tradition of academic excellence that we have here in Northwestern,” Franklin said. “We are recognized as a school of distinction, and that is something that we are very proud of. At the same time, we’re always looking to continue our work in furthering social and emotional wellness as well. We want to make sure our students are okay. And they get the social and emotional skills that are necessary to be successful in life. That’s something that we are tasked with and I look forward to continuing.”
Franklin said that he also wants to integrate into the curriculum lessons about social justice and social issues that are happening throughout the world.
“I have had the opportunity to speak with many parents and students throughout the past few months since we have been involved in distance learning,” Franklin said. “I appreciate the conversations. I’ve had the opportunity to hear parents and students talk about their excitement with the possibility of coming back to school and to share some concerns they may have. With all that said, we miss our students and they miss us. I think we recognize how important our school is to the overall well-being of the student community. I look forward to welcoming students back to start the school year. As far as what the school year will look like, we’re still looking for guidance from the state. The big thing is that we look forward to working with our students again. Hopefully, as long as it’s safe, they will have the opportunity to come back to school.”

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