Patrick Gustafson, new assistant principal at Coginchaug Regional High School says, “I felt welcomed before I even started.”
Gustafson took over after former Assistant Principal Brian Bodner left to accept a position in another district.
One of Gustafson’s first impressions during the hiring process “the sense of connectedness” that he observed on the fields near the high school, noting that as he drove in for each stage of the interview process, he saw people from the community engaged in some type of activity, whether it was a game of soccer or a walk on the track. As assistant principal, Gustafson said he has noticed the same respect for the district’s Core Ethical Values. On his first day, as students approached him to introduce themselves, they held doors open for each other. He said he quickly realized that “you are part of a community” when you join Region 13.
With respect to his goals for CRHS, Gustafson said he has a sense of how that connectedness will see the high school through the year and the inevitable changes that occur. Though the hiring of a principal, and the new teacher evaluation process will bring inherent challenges, Gustafson said he approaches these with the understanding that the year is off to a good start.
“We do things once and we do them right,” he said. The “we” includes the rest of the individuals at the high school, said Gustafson. He added that he is fortunate to work with a staff that is good at what they do, and that “we’re all in this together.”
On a personal level, one of Gustafson’s newer hobbies is photography, a skill he applied to covering sports for a local paper in West Hartford. As a former English teacher, he is “always reading something,” and he makes it a point to read for pleasure every day. Although he still considers himself an English teacher, Gustafson is already demonstrating he will be wear many hats this year as a new Region 13 administrator.