CHATHAM – Jennifer Kelly, currently principal of J.W. Martin Jr. Elementary School in North Attleboro, has been appointed as Chatham Elementary School's new principal. She will take over for Robin Millen, who has taken the position of director of curriculum assessment and student learning for the Nauset Regional School District.
Kelly holds a masters degree in education and a doctorate in curriculum, teaching, and learning. Her background includes experience as a humanities and language arts teacher at a range of grade levels, head of a gifted and talented program, assistant principal and math and science curriculum coordinator.
The Monomoy district's focus on deep learning and project-based learning attracted her to the position, Kelly wrote in an email. During her three years as principal in North Attleboro, she worked with the district's curriculum director and administrative team on deep learning through enhanced curriculum, social-emotional learning and technology advances.
“It is my belief that we have the means to tailor our instruction to meet the needs of all students,” she said in the email. “Within the first moments spending time in the classrooms, I could tell that CES was also dedicated to meeting the academy and social-emotional needs of all students.” She said she felt at home at CES, where students and staff were “engaging, excited and so very proud of their school.”
Asked about the school's dwindling enrollment, Kelly said while that has its challenges, it also presents opportunities “to focus instruction, foster relationships and think creatively. I welcome these challenges and look forward to working with the students, staff and the entire Chatham community in building a school that is innovative, inclusive and fun.”
Kelly's grandparents bought a house in South Chatham when she was five, and she spent every summer there through high school, She vacationed in town every summer with her own family.
“Chatham is a place of beautiful memories for me and I cannot wait to become a permanent part of the community,” she wrote, adding that living on the Cape as a permanent resident has always been a dream of hers.
A group of teachers and staff, parents, administrators, and a community member participated in the hiring committee for the position. The initial 26 applications were reviewed by the Monomoy Regional School District director of curriculum for the necessary certification and documentation. The final 12 candidates were screened by the hiring committee, which invited eight for in-person interviews. The field was then narrowed by the committee to two highly finalists.
The two finalists each spent the better part of a day at Chatham Elementary School, visiting classrooms, taking questions from students, and meeting with teachers and staff. The finalists also took part in caregiver/community meetings, with both in-person and virtual options available. Following these sessions, there was an opportunity for students, staff, caregivers, and community members to provide feedback on the finalists. After interviewing the candidates and reviewing the feedback, Superintendent Dr. Scott Carpenter selected Dr. Jennifer Kelly for the position.
“Both candidate finalists were very strong and would be solid principals here or at any elementary school,” Carpenter said in a new release. “Dr. Kelly’s enthusiasm, collaboration, and background all received high marks from staff, and students appreciated her warmth and attentiveness – with many children describing her as joyful and kind. I was impressed by her ability to balance the human elements of education with experience in supporting teachers' use of assessments and data to strengthen both academic and social-emotional development.”
Kelly will begin her new position on July 1.