Algonquin staffing announcements: New Assistant Principals and interim return of an Athletic Director

by beth on August 15, 2017

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Above: Returning students to Algonquin will find different faces in both the front office and Athletic department. (photo by Susan Fitzgerald)

The new principal of Algonquin Regional High School posted an August newsletter for the “T-Hawk Nation”. As the school newspaper noticed and tweeted, it contains some interesting staffing announcements.

In the spring, the Algonquin’s administration team’s status was up in the air. There was the possibility that for budgetary reasons, only one Assistant Principal would be hired though two left the building. Based on the newsletter, the district found the money to replace both.

Andy McGowan is a former Physical Education Teacher. The district also brought in new-hire Timothy McDonald. Michele Tontodonato is the sole returning member of the Principal/Assistant Principal team.*

The trio will be splitting responsibilities by class. Though the school website shows each overseeing one or two grades with no overlap, the newsletter clarifies the “AP” responsibilities a little differently:

  • AP Tontodonato – Seniors & Juniors A – C
  • AP McGowan – Sophomores & Juniors
  • AP McDonald – Freshmen & Sophomores A – C

The newsletter also shared a change in the position of Athletic Director. Former AD Fran Whitten is returning as the “interim” Athletic Director. 

Whitten will be an old colleague for many in the building, but a new face to student athletes. The class of freshmen he left behind when he moved on in 2013 just graduated.

The Community Advocate covered the reverse transition when Whitten handed the position over to now departed Karrah Ellis. The story shared about Whitten: 

“Highlights as athletic director at Algonquin include baseball state finals at Fenway Park my first year, boys” soccer winning two state championships in a row, the addition of various programs as the athletic department expanded and watching kids arrive as freshmen and depart as mature and responsible young men and women,” Whitten said. “Also, the class of 2013 dedicated their yearbook to me.”

Following his departure, Whitten will continue as a National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) coach education instructor, National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) leadership training instructor, Central Massachusetts Lacrosse Tournament director and, possibly, an official for soccer and baseball or softball.

It’s not the only big change in the athletic department this fall. As I shared in the spring, Assistant T-Hawks Football Coach Taylor Allen was promoted to the head spot after the school lost popular coach Justin McKay.

*Both Principal Tom Mead and long-time Assistant Principal Mel Laughton retired in June. And Paul DiDomenico left the district. The selection of new Principal Sara Pragluski Walsh, Ed.D. was announced in late May and made official in June.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mike August 15, 2017 at 9:25 AM

Does anyone know why Karrah left?

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2 beth August 15, 2017 at 10:21 AM

Thanks for pointing out through your question that I had her name misspelled – now corrected.

I couldn’t find anything when initially writing the story. But I checked again today and found a tweet by sports writer Sean Sweeny yesterday morning stating Tantasqua Regional’s principal confirmed that Ellis is their new Athletic Director. Sure enough, she’s listed in the Staff Directory.

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3 Mike fuce August 15, 2017 at 11:23 AM

Thank you

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