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Bethel Resident Tapped to Take Over at Berry Elementary

Local resident and former New Canaan educator to take the lead at Berry Elementary School.

Danielle Legnard, a longtime Bethel resident and 18-year veteran of New Canaan Public Schools has been appointed as the new principal of Frank A. Berry Elementary School, effective July 1.

Forty-six candidates applied for the Berry School principalship after the former principal, Dr. Kristen Brooks, was named assistant superintendent in May. After a review of applications, nine candidates were put forward for three rounds of interviews, with Legnard eventually coming out on top.

Legnard began her career as an elementary classroom teacher. Recognized for her exemplary work in the classroom, she was promoted in 2001 to Literacy Specialist and then to Math Specialist. In these roles, Legnard was responsible for developing the curriculum, providing professional development to staff, and supporting teachers in the classroom.  

In 2012, she was promoted to K-5 Math Coordinator for New Canaan Public Schools. Legnard expanded her responsibilities and supervised the district Elementary Mathematics Team, supervised the district mathematics specialists, provided coaching and support to classroom teachers and also served as a member of the district Student Study Team and Response to Intervention Team. She was instrumental in improving New Canaan’s practices for examining student work and developing protocols to implement interventions. She was responsible for aligning the mathematics curriculum to Common Core Standards and participated on the State Network of Educators Digital Library Team for the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  

Legnard is an accomplished author. She has published several articles including “The Math Promise: Celebrating math at home and school;” “Mathematical Mind Journeys: Awakening minds to computational fluency;” “Empowering Teachers;” and “Math Workshop: The recipe for every young mathematician’s appetite.”  

She was a nominee for the Presidential Award of Excellence in Math and Science Teaching and serves as an adjunct professor and program developer at Sacred Heart University for the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Mathematics and Science program.

Legnard earned a Bachelors of Arts Degree from Manhattanville College, a Masters of Arts in Elementary of Education from Sacred Heart University, and a Sixth Year Degree in Educational Leadership also from Sacred Heart.  

“Danielle’s passion, values, expertise, and very clear and evident desire to serve children here in Bethel lead to her selection as the candidate for the Berry School principalship,” outgoing Superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith said. “Throughout the selection process Danielle kept returning to the theme of collaborating on behalf of children. She demonstrated a commitment to do whatever it takes to help all children succeed and an openness to life-long learning that is critical for any school leader in today’s world. Ms. Legnard will be a strong fit for Berry School and for Bethel Public Schools.”

kenson July 03, 2014 at 03:28 PM
How do you know she didn't mention they were friends? Because it wasn't written in the article? Maybe she did say they were friends you have no idea if it was or wasn't said unless you were in the meeting. She is clearly qualified to do the job. Is it her fault people know her in the town. It wasn't an unqualified family member getting the job, it was a person with 18 years of teaching who is clearly qualified to get the job.
Dan Gaita July 08, 2014 at 08:29 AM
Perhaps everyone should instead focus on her credentials and her qualifications...ya know, all the things the BOE took into consideration prior to hiring her? Perhaps she is actually the most qualified and best suited for the job.....And don't we all like a good homecoming success story when one of our own returns back to our community to make it a better place....? Love you all.
Ann Crane July 08, 2014 at 07:06 PM
Mr. Craybas is in charge of policy and he along with the board of education appoint administrators suggested by the superintendent. Mr. Craybas should NEVER been part of the interview committee. Due to his involvement, the most qualified candidate was not chosen. Once again, Mr. Craybas did not do what was best for the children of Bethel. On a side note, TWO NEW teacher positions were posted last week.
Cathy McCullen July 11, 2014 at 10:22 AM
@ Dan Gaita, remember that there was another candidate that successfully went thru the process and was the number one choice of the search committee and the first choice of Dr. Smith, what do we tell this candidate? "I am sorry you do not have a politically connected name so all your hard work will not be considered". What message was sent when the decision to make the principal-ship a political patronage position, now when a position opens up in Bethel many will not bother to apply because they do not want to waist there time only to be told that some politicians child will be chosen first no matter what the qualification is? You will see a down ward trend in our education system from this point in time

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