Milford educator tapped to fill Perry Hill School principal post

The Shelton Board of Education has approved the hiring of Donato Piselli as principal of Perry Hill School. Piselli, left, stands with Shelton Superintendent Ken Saranich.

The Shelton Board of Education has approved the hiring of Donato Piselli as principal of Perry Hill School. Piselli, left, stands with Shelton Superintendent Ken Saranich.

Contributed photo

SHELTON — For the first time since its doors opened 12 years ago, Perry Hill School will have a new leader walking the halls this fall.

The Board of Education, at its meeting Wednesday, approved the hiring of Donato Piselli as principal of Perry Hill School.

Piselli — assistant principal at East Shore Middle School in Milford since 2015 — takes the reins from the retiring Lorraine Williams, the school’s first and only principal to date and a 37-year veteran of the Shelton public school system.

“Donato’s noted skills are his collaborative approach, work in SEL (social and emotional learning), and strong background in instructional practice for transition years, (which) will enhance our Shelton team and be the perfect fit for Perry Hill School,” Superintendent Ken Saranich said.

Board of Education Chair Kathy Yolish said Williams set the foundation and building blocks for the upper elementary middle school when it opened 14 years ago.

She said it was vital that the newly named administrator be one that could continue to build upon that foundation, not only making it stronger but also continuing to ensure the educational pathway to meet the needs and demands of a 21st Century education.

“(Piselli’s) beliefs on topics including social emotional activities for children, teacher collaboration, traits and successes for strong leadership, and opportunities to include parents and the community made it an easy decision for the team of interviewers to select him for the job,” Yolish said.

Yolish noted one of the letters of recommendation for Piselli, saying the writer called him “truly one of the most caring, kind humans” and saying he “puts relationships at the center of his work. He champions for the kids and school every single day.”

Piselli said what attracted him to the Perry Hill School job and the district was the “great sense of pride” that the community has about its schools.

“The support from the families and community is strong and that partnership between school and community is important,” Piselli added.

Saranich said Piselli, as a member of the East Shore Middle School leadership team, developed positive relationships with students and parents, designed effective professional learning for staff, and facilitated a multitude of committees.

Piselli has spent much of his educational career in Milford serving as a teacher in the middle school level. He obtained his School Leadership Certification from Southern CT State University and has recently completed the Superintendent’s Certification program through Sacred Heart University.

“I’ve spent close to 16 years in Milford and I have enjoyed every minute of it,” Piselli said. “The people that I have had the pleasure to work with and learn from have definitely had a positive impact on me. Even though I am leaving Milford, I know that the relationships and connections that I have developed over my time here will remain.”

Piselli said one of his fondest memories of being in Milford schools comes from several years ago during a fire alarm malfunction on a cold, rainy day.

“We had to evacuate everyone and we could not return to the building until the Milford Fire Department cleared the building which they did approximately 20 minutes later,” he recalled. “We re-entered the building cold and wet, yet our entire staff remained positive, upbeat, and professional. More importantly, that positive energy was absorbed by the kids. I knew that our staff at ESMS was special but that day cemented that feeling for me.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com