Exactly one month ago Wilton Public School officials announced that Middlebrook School Principal Lauren Feltz had stepped down to accept a position with another district in upstate Connecticut.

At last night’s Board of Education meeting, Wilton Schools’ Superintendent Kevin Smith announced another change in leadership at Wilton’s middle school, telling BOE members that Brian Fagan, who had stepped in as interim principal only two weeks ago, would not be able to stay in the position due to an “unavoidable personal situation.”

In his place, Smith named Middlebrook’s long-time Dean of Students James “Jory” Higgins as the school’s acting principal.

Smith said that during Higgins’ 21 years as an administrator in Wilton he has led work across multiple subject areas, including special services.

“Throughout Jory’s time, the district and Middlebrook School, he’s proven himself to be a champion for all students and an immensely collaborative colleague. He is very well liked and highly respected by the Middlebrook staff. And I do believe Jory is the best candidate at this point to fill the seat. And I know he’ll bring steady leadership to the school and will also be tremendously supported by the staff building,” Smith added.

Higgins, also a Wilton resident, was a founding member of the Task Force to Combat Underage Substance Abuse, served on Wilton’s Security Task Force, and chaired the building’s School Safety Committee. Prior to his role at Middlebrook School, Higgins was a teacher at Ina E. Driscoll School (which later merged with Tilford W. Miller School to become Miller-Driscoll School).

According to a press release issued almost simultaneously to Smith’s live announcement, Higgins has been named to the role for the 2020-2021 school year.

Higgins’ appointment will leave an interim vacancy for a dean of students position at Middlebrook School, which the district will post shortly. Officials will conduct a formal search for Middlebrook principal beginning in spring 2021.