Riddle named permanent Shelton High principal

Interim Principal Kathy Riddle speaks during the first of three graduation ceremonies held Wednesday for the Shelton High School Class of 2020, in Shelton, Conn. July 8, 2020.

Interim Principal Kathy Riddle speaks during the first of three graduation ceremonies held Wednesday for the Shelton High School Class of 2020, in Shelton, Conn. July 8, 2020.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — The high school now has a permanent principal.

Kathy Riddle, who has served as principal for more than a year, had the word “interim” removed from her title by a unanimous Board of Education vote Wednesday.

Riddle, a Shelton native who has served the district for nearly three decades, now permanently takes the lead at the school where she walked the halls as a student in her teenage years.

She was named interim principal before the 2019-20 school year. The salary stands at $166,739.

“Along with my own two children, my favorite people each and every day are the students at Shelton High School,” Riddle said.

“I am in awe of their resiliency, positive attitude and success in the classroom and our community,” she said. “To the students at SHS — keep moving forward, look for the good and better and know that better brighter days are ahead. We got this.”

Superintendent Ken Saranich said that during her time as interim principal, Riddle has guided Shelton High School to significant improvement in academic achievement and the school community.

“Under her leadership, she has guided SHS through the pandemic and has advanced digital instruction,” Saranich added. “I am honored to make Kathy the permanent principal of Shelton High School.”

Saranich said that during Riddle’s tenure, the graduation rate has risen 3 percent to 96 percent overall. More impressive, according to Saranich, is improved graduation rates in specific subgroups: English Language Learners showed a percent increase; special education students showed a 15 percent hike; and those in the free and reduced lunch program showed a 12 percent graduation rate increase.

"I have been honored to call Shelton High School my home,” Riddle said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my experiences ... as a Shelton High School student and my 28 years of service to the district as a teacher, counselor, coach, advisor and curriculum leader.

“These varied opportunities prepared me for the challenges of serving as the interim principal this past year and a half, but nothing could have truly prepared us for educating during a pandemic,” Riddle added.

Riddle said the principal’s role during the pandemic aided her personal and professional growth.

"Every day I am in awe of the dedication of the faculty and staff of Shelton High School,” Riddle said. “Together we have struggled, continued learning and dedicated ourselves completely to supporting our students.

“To the staff at SHS — thank you for supporting me and growing together,” Riddle said. “We have so much to accomplish in the future and I am confident that we will continue to provide our students with the best educational experience possible.”

Riddle said while a teachers’ job is demanding, she cannot think of a profession that provides more satisfaction than education and spending time with a child.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com