, Gloucester, MA

August 27, 2013

New principals to greet Manchester Essex middle, high school students

Back to school for Cape Ann towns

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — As students of the Manchester Essex Regional School District get ready for the first classes tomorrow so do two new principals.

Patricia Puglisi is the regional high school’s new leader, while Steven Guditus heads the middle school.

Puglisi, previously the assistant principal for curriculum and instruction at Reading Memorial High School, said yesterday she was excited to welcome the incoming students, and she is not alone.

“The faculty that I have met are so energetic,” she said, adding she has met some students already. “I thought that said so much about this community.”

Before her time in Reading, Puglisi served as a social studies teacher and later as the social studies department chair woman at Masconomet Regional High School in Topsfield. Puglisi said she is pleased to be back in a smaller school district, where she has the chance to learn every student’s name.

She served on a number of task forces, committees and teams during her tenure in Topsfield and Reading; one aspect of her job that is following her to Manchester.

Puglisi said school leaders have revived the student advisory council. The goal is that students can meet with school officials throughout the year, and discuss issues such as social media use in and out of the classroom, emotional issues, bullying and anti-bullying efforts and a host of other topics.

“I’m honored Manchester Essex chose me,” she said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity and I’m looking forward to putting my best foot forward.”

Social media is one thing Guditus hopes to promote. Tweeting from @MERMS01944, the official Twitter account will allow him to keep everyone up to date on the latest middle school happenings.

The two new principals said they are still learning the ins and outs of the school, listening to what works and what could use more attention.

Guditus said he is looking forward to the first day of classes, and making an effort to providing some professional learning opportunities for staff, promoting technology in the classroom and “reaffirming belief in the middle school child.”

“We’re on some strong footing,” he said. “I’m very excited to see kids walk through the front door.”

He added the staff have been welcoming and hard working. Guditus said he sees the parking lot stuffed with cars in the morning before things begin and after the day is over.

This will be the first time Guditus will be working for a regional school district. He was a social studies teacher in Medfield before becoming an assistant principal at Stony Brook Middle School in Westford.

Some of his accomplishments in Westford included starting a schoolwide advisory program, creating a new reading program, founding the school garden and grant writing.

The fiscal 2014 budget shows $218,461 was allocated to the assistant principal and principal positions at the high school, a decrease of about $3,500 from last year. Meanwhile $115,000 was set aside for Guditus, an increase of about $7,600.

“We all need to grow, myself included,” Guditus said. “We need to be constantly learning.”

The bells will ring at the middle and high schools tomorrow at 7:45 a.m., while elementary students start their day at 8:25 a.m.; students have Friday and Monday off in recognition of Labor Day.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3455 or at