BRUNSWICK — High school classes will resume next week under the supervision of a new principal, Troy Henninger.
Henninger comes to Brunswick after four years as headmaster and headmaster coach at Boston Latin Academy, a Boston public school serving students in grades 7-12.
And, while Henninger is new to Brunswick High School, he is not the only new principal in town. At the REAL School, Chris McCarthy will replace Martin Mackey as director this fall, and Shelley Wheeler will replace Timothy Forti as principal of St. John’s Catholic School.
The Brunswick School Board authorized Superintendent Paul Perzanoski to negotiate a two-year contract with Henninger at its Aug. 22 meeting.
Perzanoski on Aug. 29 said Henninger’s salary will be $120,252 pro-rated, since he began later in the fiscal year, and will include health benefits.
Henninger will replace Shanna Crofton, who becomes the School Department’s curriculum coordinator on Sept. 1.
Prior to his position in Boston, Henninger worked as a teacher and administrator in Florida for several years. He also has ties to Maine, having worked in Lewiston as a teacher and as assistant principal at Cape Elizabeth High School.
A Connecticut native, he has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Quinnipiac University, a Master of Science in Urban Education Studies from Southern Connecticut University and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership from Stetson University.
In an interview earlier this week, Henninger said he is “very excited” to work at Brunswick High School.
He added he did not leave Boston because he was “unhappy in any way,” and the Brunswick High School position is the only one he applied for in Maine.
“I said, ‘I’ll apply for that job because it’s a good match for me and my experience,'” he said.
Henninger said consciously working on the “climate and culture” of any school where he works is important to him, and he plans to do “a lot of listening” to both staff and students as he begins his new position.
“I’m not a guy in my previous school or any school where I’ve been a teacher or administrator (to) come in and say ‘Nope we’re not doing that anymore, sorry,'” he said. “It would not be helpful to anybody, including me.”
Henninger described examining the climate of a school as noticing how students seem to feel walking around the building, as well as seeing if there are parts of the school that “celebrate its mood.”
“When you walk around the building, (ask yourself) do the kids look like they’re engaged and not just compliant?” he said. “Are people smiling, telling stories, laughing?”
The culture of a school, on the other hand, are all of its policies, practices and procedures, which “require a different set of eyes and very different approach” than climate.
“The culture, to change it, to embrace the things the school does well and to work on the things that it doesn’t do well takes everyone,” Henninger said. “(And it requires) a very clear road on how to do that.”
Attending events that students are engaged in, such as art or athletics, can also give administrators perspective on how things are going.
“Every opportunity to meet up with the students and see how their experiences are going and listening to the experiences as a school, definitely give you a lens into the real, deep inner workings of a high school,” Henninger said.
The close proximity of the sports fields is one perk he is looking forward to in Brunswick since Boston Latin Academy used fields around the city for athletics.
“In Boston (the athletes) are jumping on the bus or the T, so that’s a big change to see that right in front of me.”
Henninger said he wants students, faculty and parents to know “the door is always open,” and the school will always do “what’s right for kids first and foremost.”
“I’m a very transparent guy,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and I think that parents and stakeholders and guardians can be comforted that it’s not my first rodeo.”
Troy Henninger replaces Shanna Crofton as principal of Brunswick High School. Henninger was most recently headmaster of Boston Latin Academy in Boston.