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Pixley named Wilbraham Middle School principal

Date: 2/14/2013

By Chris Maza

WILBRAHAM — The Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District (HWRSD) announced recently that Thornton W. Burgess Middle School principal Noel Pixley would succeed Daniel Roy as principal of Wilbraham Middle School.

HWRSD Superintendent M. Martin O'Shea stated in a letter to parents on Jan. 23 that Roy would leave the school at the end of the year, citing "personal and professional reasons."

Pixley, who will officially start work in his new capacity on July 1, confirmed the decision in a separate letter to Thornton Burgess parents in which he also reflected upon his time at the school.

"This year marks my 17th year as principal of Thornton Burgess Middle School, and my 25th year as an employee in the HWRSD. I have truly loved every minute that I have spent leading the school that I attended as a student," he said. "In reflecting back on my tenure as principal, I am flooded with fond memories. I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of families and it has been my sincere pleasure to get to know everyone on a personal and professional basis. While working with students and families, I have shared in many extremely rewarding scenarios and have built educational partnerships that I deeply respect.

"As a school, we have celebrated in good times and come together as a support system for one another when we needed to. I can't think of a better community to be associated with and I sincerely want to thank you all for the friendship and support you have shown me during my tenure at Thornton Burgess Middle School," he continued.

O'Shea declined to comment directly to Reminder Publications' questions regarding the decision, citing potentially confidential personnel information, but explained in his letter that experience within the district was the primary reason for the decision to shift Pixley from Thornton Burgess to Wilbraham Middle School.

"Mr. Pixley has the longest tenure among our principals, having served in his current role since 1996," O'Shea said in his letter. "As a respected, experienced and effective HWRSD administrator, he had familiarity with the district's curriculum, policies and practices. Beginning next month [February], Mr. Pixley will start developing his entry plan by meeting with groups of Wilbraham Middle School parents, students, teachers and staff."

Pixley added that while he will be preparing for his new position, he would be sure to keep focused on his duties as principal at Thornton Burgess.

"Although I will deeply miss the people here in Hampden, I am very excited about this new chapter in my life. In the meantime, we have a lot of work ahead of us this year as a school and I want you to know that I will not waiver from my dedication to this faculty, student body and their parents/guardians," he said. "I love this community and I want you to know that it will always hold a very special place in my heart. I am very thankful that I have had the opportunity to serve the town of Hampden in this capacity, and I look forward to doing the same in Wilbraham."

O'Shea said that a search for a new principal at Thornton Burgess would take place, but made no indication as to when it would begin. As of press time on Feb. 12, no posting could be found on the HWRSD website.

"Thornton W. Burgess is a well-regarded middle school that will attract many highly qualified applicants," he said.