New Fairfield High School has a new principal: Staples’ James D’Amico.
The announcement was made last night by New Fairfield superintendent of schools Patricia Cosentino. New Fairfield is a town of about 14,000, in northern Fairfield County.
“He’s done a great job in Westport for 18 years,” she said. “He has a strong background in curriculum design. He’s student-centered, and has developed wonderful relationships with students, staff and the community. He has a vision to make New Fairfield High School the best it can be.”
Taking the podium, D’Amico thanked his colleagues in Westport — especially his Staples administrative team. Together, he said, “We try to move mountains to help kids. I’ll miss them tremendously.”
A 1994 New Fairfield High graduate, D’Amico has spent his entire professional career in Westport. In 2001, after earning a master’s in education, he was hired as a Staples social studies teacher. He was named department chair in 2005, townwide director of secondary education in 2014, and principal in 2016.
Following John Dodig, and a one-year interim, D’Amico made his own mark by addressing issues like scheduling, graduation requirements and exam stresses. He championed Pathways Academy, an alternative school-within-a-school that opened in September.
This morning, D’Amico told the faculty of his decision to leave. A staff member who attended the meeting said he called it “a unique opportunity to do a job I’ve come to love.”
He said he loved working with the staff, loved the high school, and had not anticipated leaving. But the opportunity was too good to pass up.
He vowed to be “completely dedicated to the school” until June 30, the end of his 3rd year at the helm of the 1,885-student school. This year Staples was ranked the #1 public high school in Connecticut. New Fairfield, with 904 students, was #91.
Superintendent of schools Colleen Palmer said, “We extend our best wishes to Mr. D’Amico as he moves on to his new role this summer, and thank him for his years of dedicated service to our district.”
The search for a new Staples High School principal begins soon.