Leaves Southbridge for promotion in Michigan

By Shaun Moriarty
Citizen Chronicle Writer
shaun@thecitizenchronicle.com

SOUTHBRIDGE — In his second year at the helm of the embattled high school, Dr. Andrae Townsel is leaving his principalship for a promotion in his home state of Michigan.

In an e-mail sent at 9:01 p.m. on Monday to Southbridge High School staff and officials, Townsel announced he would be leaving his post at Southbridge High School to become the Assistant Superintendent for Culture, Climate, and Social Emotional Learning of the Wayne-Westland Community Schools in Westland, Mich. The city of Westland is located roughly 16 miles west of Detroit and, as of the 2010 U.S. Census, boasted a population of more than 84,000 people.

A local departure date, nor a starting date in Westland, has not yet been determined.

“I am very sad to leave here. I really fell in love with this town. However, my children do not have the opportunity to spend much time with their grandparents and cousins outside of annual holidays,” Townsel explained in his e-mail announcement. “I now have an opportunity to focus on my family, which is important. Life is short and time is precious.”

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.

In his e-mail announcement, Townsel said he had “been privileged to work alongside some great educators to build a stronger school climate, foster community engagement, and improve student learning.”

Townsel added that he leaves behind “a strong administrative team” that he believes “will work together to continue improving Southbridge High School.”

The announcement comes on the same evening that school officials in Westland voted to offer the position, Townsel wrote. His impending departure is also announced on the eve of a regularly scheduled meeting of the Southbridge School Committee, in which the state-controlled district is set to publicly introduce its new receiver/superintendent, Jeffrey Villar.

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