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Principal Zinni Leaving Willett for Thacher

Catherine Zinni will be replaced by Kate Campbell.

parents received a phone message Friday afternoon with a familiar theme from the 2011-12 school year. Principal Catherine Zinni is leaving, but unlike the others school chiefs who are departing, she will remain in the district. Zinni will become the principal at .

Willett's new principal will be Kate Campbell, who Zinni described in the message as having "years of experience in Attleboro schools."

Zinni has been the principal at Willett since 2008.

"As a PTO president, I'm sure she will do amazing work there, but she will be greatly missed," wrote Willett PTO President Laurie Brasil in an email to Attleboro-Seekonk Patch. "She has been welcoming to new ideas, which has made for a fresh and fun school year. We are so grateful for all her support. Thacher is lucky to have her."

She continued, "As a parent, I'm mad. Since I have been a parent at Willett, Mrs. Zinni has been my fourth principal. Kids and families need consistency, we deserve it. Willett is not just a school, it's a family, and now we are losing the head of our family. To say I am frustrated is not even the half of it." 

Thacher principal Elaine Sabra announced earlier this month that she was leaving for the same post in the Somerset school district, which is closer to her home.

Kendelle Aronson June 16, 2012 at 12:23 AM
My personal choice is to leave Mrs. Zinni at Willett, Move Mrs. Nascimento to Thatcher where she has a relationship with the students, families and the staff and keep Mrs. Campbell at Hill Roberts, again, where she has a relationship with the students, families and the staff. These children and the staff, need stability. Too many changes make the learning environment unstable and and distracting. Why upset all the apple carts? There has been enough change in our schools. My 2 cents...
Heather June 16, 2012 at 12:59 AM
I'm mad!! Mrs. Zinni is a wonderful principal who is fantastic with the students at Willett. I don't see why things need to be completely changed, why not keep school personal in the schools where all of the students, families and staff have already built relationships with them?
KM June 16, 2012 at 02:18 AM
I'm with Kendelle with this one!
T.Rose Sr. June 16, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Why all the changes, maybe Mrs. Zinni wanted to change.
D H Cane June 17, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Hopefully she won't sabotage the new principal like what is happening at HymanFine.
D H Cane June 17, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Not what I've heard. She wasnt given a choice.
Heather June 17, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Mrs. Zinni would never sabotage a new principal, she is not like that!
concernedcitizen June 17, 2012 at 10:34 PM
How is the new principal being sabotaged at Hyman Fine? I have heard nothing but wonderful reports about her from parents and teachers who have met her.
Kristen Semple June 18, 2012 at 11:25 AM
On the occasions I have dealt with with Mrs. Zinni, she has been 100% supportive, professional, and kind. She has also been present at all Willett functions, and the kids and parents respect and like her. I do not think that moving an effective principal from a well-run school is a good move.
steve fuller June 20, 2012 at 01:45 AM
School com. Meeting was a joke, mostly due to the uneducated public who spoke at the meeting...get your facts straight, one person claimed to be a PTO president..OUCH!! I hope this is not what the area has to offer, not a good showing in regards to the community. As far as the school com., one member got up and left the meeting to speak to the uneducated public...talk about rude...
Just sayin' June 20, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Why not? I'm trying to understand here. If it is well run that would be in part due to the structure she put in place. It sounds like she is excellent and establishes a great culture in the school. Why not encourage that level of excellence throughout the school system?
Just sayin' June 20, 2012 at 02:10 AM
I feel terrible for Ms Campbell. All this talk about how this is such a bad move really implies that these parents don't think she can do the job. Before getting so upset why not give her a fair shake? Folks here are so focused on what they are losing that they are not seeing what they may be gaining.
Chrys Swenson June 20, 2012 at 10:37 AM
Ms. Zinni is an amazing Principal. She has a great relationship with the children and the parents. She returns phone calls, she is available. She also has a great support staff with all of her office angels. The school lost 3 amazing teachers a few years ago when Mr. Metaxus, Mrs. Aupperle, and Mrs. Correia retired. Willett doesn't need to lose another great! I hope the committee will vote to keep her at Willett.
Heather Porreca June 20, 2012 at 01:57 PM
I Agree JS! I had the pleasure of meeting Ms Campbell yesterday at the Willett cookout. I found her excitement at the opportunity in front of her refreshing. ! She is a 20 year veteran of the Attleboro Schools and is still enthusiastic about teaching, which that in itself is an accomplishment! She was introducing herself to many families in what could be classified as “enemy territory” with a warm smile and an extended hand! I like that. I am looking forward to seeing what Ms Campbell will bring to the table. There is no way that the school committee will stop the transfer of Mrs. Zinni. It is not within their power to do so. I feel that by October the families of Willett will be comfortable with the change and will move on just like we have the multiple times we have had to face this same change. Good luck Mrs. Zinni in your new position, and Best of luck to Ms. Campbell in yours as well.
WillettlovesZinni June 20, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Upset to student's and constant change in a routine in a young persons life is good - just sayin. Think about this. Study after study has been done in this area. Children need stability. As for the staff beneath Zinni. Yes they are also great, but with different leadership and a different person at the helm ideas change. Changing something that works is not a good thing. Why would you want to do this, especially when it effects children. The staff at Willett is execellent because of their leader. Why take the chance that this could change with a different person in charge. This makes no sense. Also, Mrs. Zinni did not want to leave-she was forced. If she was not afraid of the Superintendent she would have stated this. Talk to her in person and you will see the truth. Parent's it is not too late, lets rally and get our prinicipal back. Bombard the Superintendent and every school committee member with emails and phone calls. This can be changed if we stick together and demand results.
Just sayin' June 20, 2012 at 05:58 PM
WLZ - what change do you expect in the day-to-day with the new leadership? And while agree upheaval is bad for children, learning to be resilient is a critical life skill for success.
conrad June 20, 2012 at 08:45 PM
This has nothing to do with resilience. A new leader can change the day to day. This has to do with disruption which will effect our children. We aren't talking a corporation where change is no big deal. These are children. Children need stability. Our school system needs stability. No wonder why we cannot keep good teachers and principals when they do not have the support of the people. It is nice to know that this "who cares if teachers stay put "attitude is what we want to project to the educators of our children. Why show our principals that we support them. Who cares what school you go to. Let's have you go to Hill Robert's next year and upset their system and after that go to Studley and throw them off. What is next? Switching students from school to school each year. Why not? Change is good, it will teach them to be resilient.
SD June 21, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Studley will have new principal next yearas will Hyman Fine. By the sounds of these people ar better line up the adjustment counselors tot the children. Maybe group therapy? Is it better to teach our children to whine and complain until they get whet they want? Children do not interact with a principal on managing the day to day operations of a school like parents/staff do. They will be fine. What to you suggest when these kids go to middle school? Move the principal with them? Cant do that now can we? If you are concerned then have a discussion with your children. It shouldn't be treated like the end of the world.
Just sayin' June 21, 2012 at 12:45 PM
So I know how you feel, but that still does not answer my question. *What* in the day-to-day could change? Everyone seems to agree that Mrs. Zinni is very good at her job, as is Ms. Campbell - so why are folks coming to the conclusion that these two women would come in and purposefully cause disruptions to purposefully harm the well being of the staff and students? Please don't assume I've made up my mind one way or the other just because I'm asking questions. I'm asking questions because it does not seem that this should be a big deal yet the comments are very passionate so I have to wonder what is driving these passionate comments. What is 'between the lines' that I'm missing?
city watcher June 21, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Thank you SD. I was thinking the same as you. It's the TEACHERS that make a difference in the kids' every day lives. I told my daughter that Mrs Sabra was leaving Thacher to a job closer to home and the first thing she said was "oh that's good that she doesn't have to drive as far". She's not traumatized at all. She is, however, more fearful of what 4th grade will bring and what teacher she will have as she LOVED her 3rd grade teacher. This change is not the end of the world as we know it. There will be life after Zinni leaves Willett. "what doesn't kill you makes your stronger!" Give everybody a chance to do the job they were given to do and stop making this about what the PARENTS want. I think they are more traumatized than the kids!
t machado June 21, 2012 at 05:03 PM
We are placing unqualified candidates in major positions. The children do not have stablility in their schools and this effects learning. The staff will feel this and this will passed on to the teachers. Children should be taught to voice their concerns and push for what is right. I do not consider this whining. Whining is when someone dismisses an issue like this because they support one person. If anyone thinks this will not effect the schools involved and they will be fine, they are just Pia puppets. Or course will effect the schools and maybe when it effects your child (if you have one in these schools) then you'll wake up and see the bigger picture. Our Elementary curriculum is a joke since Pia came here. She has dumb down our childrens learning and has implemented a system that teaches you how to take the MCAS test. This is really good for our kids in the "real life" when they cant function because they did learn basic skills in school.

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