Big Changes in Leadership at Two Elementary Schools

Mary R. Tisko School and John B. Sliney School will get new principals.

 Attwo new Branford principals were introduced to the public for the first time.  James A. O’Connor will replace at and Susan Carole Iwanicki-Smith will replace interim principal Richard Gusenburg at 

Since February, administrators, teachers and a select group of parents have been reviewing applicants for principals at Tisko and Sliney Schools.  Rabinowitz has been principal at Tisko for 20 years and Gusenburg was a one year interim replacing Kathleen Higgins at Sliney School. 

So who are these new folks who will be greeting our children come September? 

James O’Connor

James O’Connor comes to Tisko with more than 15 years as a successful educator.  He has been principal of Hamden Middle School since 2007 where under his leadership standardized tests have improved as well as the climate for academic excellence. 

Prior to becoming principal at Hamden Middle School, O’Connor worked in New Haven as a Staff Curriculum Developer, an Administrative Intern and in 2003 as an Assistant Principal at Wilbur Cross High School

He is committed to the highest level of personal and professional excellence, strong advocate of positive change, teamwork and continuous self- improvement.  O’Connor is highly respected by his peers, and his staff but more importantly is the esteem in which he is held by his students and members of the community. 

O’Connor received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Auburn University in 1992 and his Masters of Arts in Education from the University of New Haven in 1994.  He received his 6th year degree from Southern Connecticut State University in Educational Leadership in 1999. 

He eagerly awaits his new position at Tisko.

“My true love is for fourth grade.  Elementary is a way to go back to my roots and what I love.  It is what I am specifically trained in and this is an opportunity to become part of a new team," he said.

Welcome Principal O’Connor!

Susan Carole Iwanicki-Smith

Susan Carole Iwanicki-Smith comes to Sliney School as a bilingual educator with a commitment to multicultural education. 

Since 2009 Iwanicki-Smith has been employed by Bristol Public Schools as Supervisor of Instruction, K-5.  Previous to that she has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of New Haven and the University of Rhode Island.  She has also taught English at the Norwich Free Academy and was the English Curriculum Coordinator at The British Royal School in Santiago, Chile. 

Iwanicki Smith has had a great deal of experience with curriculum development and most recently with aligning curriculum to the Common Core State Standards

Iwanicki-Smith is considered by her peers to be a true leader and able to get the job done.  Her passion for learning is highly contagious and her personal character is described as being trustworthy, collaborative and dedicated.  

Iwanicki-Smith received her Bachelor’s degree in English Education in 1995 and her Master’s in Education from the University of Connecticut in 1996.  She received her Ed.D in Educational Leadership from Central Connecticut State University in 2009.

"I'm very excited to join Sliney School. What appeals to me is the collaborative effort of the Branford Community.  At the Board of Education meeting, there were so many people speaking that it lends to a community voice and a common vision.  I'm excited to be working to provide a strong education for students.  Kindergarten through grade four are the most formative years," she said.

Welcome Principal Iwanicki-Smith!

Katina Gionteris May 27, 2011 at 10:41 AM
So looking forward to meeting out new Tisko principal - - welcome welcome Mr. O'Connor! Hope we can work together to keep Tisko such a wonderful place for our kids!


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