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District welcomes two new principals

MILFORD – Superintendent Jessica Huizenga is pleased to announce that the Milford School District has officially welcomed new principals at Milford High School and Jacques Memorial School.

Chali Davis and Timothy O’Connell joined the district this month as principals at the high school and Jacques Memorial School, respectively.

Prior to taking on her current role, Davis most recently served as the assistant principal at Concord High School — a position she’d held since 2016. There she supervised the English, Reading and English Language Learners (ELL) Departments, facilitating the curricula for each subject area and overseeing the transition of ELL students into mainstream classrooms as their skills evolved.

Davis also developed a new reading program at Concord High that works cooperatively with the English Department and other school reading programs.

“I am honored to lead Milford High School. To be able to build and grow from of an already solid base is a wonderful opportunity. Milford has tremendous potential to become one of the highest performing, innovative schools in the state,” Davis said. “I wanted to find a high school with a supportive school board within a strong community, and a school with a great group of teachers and administrators and a dynamic superintendent — Milford was exactly what I was looking for.”

Her classroom career began in 1996 as an English teacher in Lawrence, Massachusetts, before she moved onto the same role at Pinkerton Academy and later Windham High School. She’s earned both a bachelor’s and an education specialist degree from the University of New Hampshire, and a master’s degree from Middlebury College. In addition, she founded Rutabaga’s Cafe in Salem and served as its owner from 1997-2005.

“Chali has a remarkable background supporting student learning across multiple disciplines, and we’re very much looking forward to the contributions she’ll make across the curriculum at the high school,” Superintendent Huizenga said. “She was the ideal candidate to fulfill this critical role because she has expertise in many of the core areas we’re focusing on with our students.”

O’Connell also began his teaching career in 1996, when he started as a sixth grade teacher at Brookline Elementary School and Captain Samuel Douglass Academy in Brookline, New Hampshire. He served in those roles until he moved on to become the assistant principal at Memorial School in Winchendon, Massachusetts.

In the latter role, he chaired the Crisis Team and oversaw implementation of school emergency protocols. He also created and coordinated the Kids Community Connection Program, which promoted volunteerism and community outreach among the school’s cohort of kindergarteners through third graders.

In 2009, O’Connell moved into the same role at the Reeds Ferry School in Merrimack and later returned to Memorial School as its principal. In that role, he assisted in the development of the district turnaround plan. Most recently, O’Connell served as the principal at Florence Rideout Elementary School and Lyndeborough Central School, where he advocated for and oversaw implementation of a multi-year renovation plan and the consolidation of the two schools.

“Tim brings a really unique skill set that he’s developed over 20-plus years as an educator,” Superintendent Huizenga said. “He’s going to be a fantastic advocate for our elementary students, and I have no doubt that he’ll make an immediate impact on the lives of some of our youngest students while helping to implement many of the core elements of our plans for the future of the district.”

O’Connell holds a master’s in educational leadership from Plymouth State University and a bachelor’s in elementary education from Plymouth State College.

“My passion has been, and always will be, educating students. I am looking forward to sharing this passion for education, and my enthusiasm for learning with the young students at Jacques Memorial School,” O’Connell said. “It is apparent to me that the Jacques School is committed to a holistic education for all its students, which aligns perfectly with my core belief that schools must work to provide an education that meets the social, emotional, and academic needs of each and every student.”

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