SPOTSWOOD, NJ – The hunt for a principal to take over the helm of the Memorial Middle School is finally over. Brian Kitchin was approved by the Spotswood Board of Education at the July board meeting.
Memorial has had two principals in the last five years and the district was unable to fill the principal vacancy at the conclusion of the 2015-16 school year. Former Assistant Superintendent and newly appointed Superintendent Graham Peabody served as Memorial Middle School's acting principal for the 2016-17 school year.
Kitchin is in the process of meeting his new staff as they come in to set up their classrooms and settling into his new office and surroundings at Memorial. He’s looking forward to when he has the entire group together in a couple of weeks as the countdown to the first day of school in the district ticks on.
Kitchin, a veteran educator, taught physical education for nine years in the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District at the elementary and middle school levels. He also served as the administrator in charge of the district’s after school enrichment program and spent time as a lacrosse coach as well. Kitchin, a former lacrosse player himself, coached the freshmen lacrosse team at Bridgewater-Raritan High School.
The Roxbury native earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science at the College of New Jersey and his master’s through Arizona State. He is currently enrolled in the doctorate program for educational leadership at Centenary University in Hackettstown and will earn his doctoral degree in May of 2019.
Kitchin learned of the principal opening in the Spotswood School District at Memorial through his own building principal, who encouraged the teacher to apply for the position.
“I wanted to be able to have an impact on a school district from a different seat; from a place where I can touch more areas of education,” Kitchin said when asked on moving from the classroom into an administrative role.
“I love this age,” Kitchin continued. “I personally feel like you have the best opportunity at the middle school age to have a real impact on them because they are still trying to figure out who they are. They are kind of bridging the gap between elementary and high school. Here is really where you get a chance to have an impact on who they are and who they become.”
Earlier this month, Kitchin came to the National Night Out at the Municipal Complex that was held by the Spotswood and Helmetta Police Departments. The new principal along with Superintendent Graham Peabody had a chance to meet many people in the Spotswood and Helmetta communities who attended the event on August 2.
“I really like that small town feel where everyone is involved and everyone really cares about the school and the community,” Kitchin said of his first experience in the borough, attending the town-wide event. “It’s exciting to be a part of it.”
Kitchin sees himself as a hands-on principal and plans of taking the time to observe how Memorial ran last year under the helm of then assistant superintendent and acting Memorial principal, Peabody.
“I like to be involved,” Kitchin said of his educational philosophy. “I don’t want to be someone who is going to spend my day sitting in the office. I want to get around the building and see what is going on in the school and kind of have my finger on the pulse of the building a little bit. A lot of the best things and a lot of the best lessons that you’re going to see and a lot of the most exciting things going on in the classroom aren’t happening during formal observations. So, I don’t want that to be the only time the kids and the teachers see me in the classroom. I want to be there and I want to see what’s going on.”
Kitchin along with new guidance counselor, Jessica Silva, will host, Meet the Principal Night on Thursday, Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Memorial Middle School. Both Kitchin and Silva will address parents and have a question and answer session afterwards.
Incoming Memorial Middle School sixth grade students will attend an orientation earlier in the day, beginning at 9 a.m.
School reopens for the 2017-18 academic year in the Spotswood School District on Thursday, Sept. 7. Teachers return on September 5 and September 6 for staff in-service days.
Back-to-School Night at the Memorial Middle School will be held on Monday, Sept. 18 at 6:30 p.m.