Cider Mill School principal Dr. Jennifer Mitchell on Monday, Aug. 31 announced that a candidate was chosen to fill the open assistant principal position at the school. In a letter she emailed home to parents, Mitchell announced that Lauren Catalano, a first grade teacher from Bethel was chosen as Cider Mill’s new assistant principal.

“I feel very confident that we have now hired the one perfect candidate to join the Cider Mill Team! Her enthusiasm, passion, and commitment to education will support the excellent strategic planning and work occurring in our school,” Mitchell wrote.

Catalano replaces Ellen Tuckner, who left Wilton over the summer to accept a position as principal of the Mohegan Elementary School in Shelton.

According to her profile, Catalano received her Bachelor Degree in elementary education and teaching from UCONN in 2008, and she went on to complete her Master Degree in education at UCONN the following year. She completed her sixth year Educational Leadership and Administration program at UCONN in 2015.

Professionally, Catalano has most recently been a teacher leader and first grade teacher in Bethel. Before that she was a third grade teacher for two years in Willington, CT.

In making the announcement, Mitchell wrote to parents that, “Lauren comes to us with a strong instructional leadership background and has worked tirelessly to support effective teaching and learning in the Bethel Public Schools. She has engaged in refining SRBI practices, supporting professional learning communities and, most importantly, improving instructional practices to increase student cognitive engagement. She has been involved in strategic planning and has proven to be a collaborative team member with teachers, administrators and families. She has exemplary communication skills. Above all, Ms. Catalano places the needs of students at the heart of all decision-making.”

According to Mitchell’s email, Catalano was selected after an “intensive and thorough” interview process in which more than 100 applications were screened, the Cider Mill interview committee met with 17 candidates for a brief 20-30 minute screening interview, and five candidates moved forward for in-depth interviews. The Committee recommended its top two candidates to Wilton Schools superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith and a Board of Education member.