Assistant principal to take over for time being

By Shaun Moriarty
Citizen Chronicle Writer
shaun@thecitizenchronicle.com

SOUTHBRIDGE — While the search continues for a permanent hire, Patrick Danby has accepted the role of interim high school principal.

In a letter to families today, Southbridge Public Schools Receiver/Superintendent Jeffrey A. Villar announced Mr. Danby will move up from assistant principal at Southbridge High School to take the helm of the district’s flagship, at least temporarily. He will replace Dr. Andre Townsel, who is leaving the high school principalship in March after accepting the position of Assistant Superintendent for Culture, Climate, and Social Emotional Learning of the Wayne-Westland Community Schools in Westland, Mich.

According to Mr. Danby’s LinkedIn resume, he was hired as the high school’s assistant principal in June 2016 after spending the previous three school years as a math teacher in the Springfield Public Schools. He also had an earlier stint teacher math in Springfield from January 2006 through June 2009. Additionally, Mr. Danby worked as a financial aid officer for Kaplan University from June 2009 through August 2013. He holds a degree in mathematics from Western New England University and an MBA in Business Administration from Kaplan University.

Dr. Villar’s letter states he is “pleased” that Mr. Danby “has agreed to take on the challenging role of Interim Principal,” and thanked him for “his willingness to accept this challenge!” The letter does not include any statement on behalf of Mr. Danby, nor does it indicate whether he will be a candidate for the position permanently. The appointment is the first key hire made by Dr. Villar since starting in the receiver/superintendent position on Feb. 12.

Dr. Villar’s letter applauded the departing principal’s tenure. “In my short time in the district, I have learned that Dr. Townsel has served as an influential leader and has made many contributions to the Southbridge High School community.” The receiver/superintendent went on to congratulate Dr. Townsel on the new position, but also noted the resignation “represents yet another challenging leadership transition for Southbridge High School and the greater community.”

Dr. Townsel was named principal of Southbridge High School in May 2016, having previously served as Vice Principal of Culture and Instruction at Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C. for two years. He has explained his decision to leave Southbridge is familial as he returns to the area of his hometown Detroit. Townsel is the seventh principal at the high school since 2010, while Villar is the ninth superintendent in that same period of time.

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