Source: Sherman Publications

Belle Ann Elementary, Brandon High School principals named

by Susan Bromley

April 13, 2011

Brandon Twp.- The school district will have two new leaders this fall.

The school board unanimously approved during their April 11 meeting the hiring of Cathy Kochanski as the new Belle Ann Elementary School principal, as well as the promotion of Celeste Nowacki to principal of Brandon High School.

“We did an extensive search for both principals,” said Superintendent Lorrie McMahon, adding the board had six candidates for the elementary position, and five for the high school. “They went through rigorous interviews and reference checks and a great deal of discussion by the interview committee about their qualifications and I think we have picked two people who fit well with Brandon and our goal of becoming better.”

Kochanski will replace Belle Ann Principal Mark Rodak, who is retiring at the end of this school year. The Oxford resident has worked in the Troy School District for the past 15 years, the last nine of which she has spent as a K-5 literacy specialist. Previous to that, she taught second and third grades. Kochanski earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Michigan-Flint, has a master’s degree in reading and language arts from Oakland University and is currently enrolled in the administrative certification program at Saginaw Valley State University.

“I am thrilled beyond belief that I am getting to come back home,” said Kochanski. “Having a building of my own and having it be so close to home is exciting for my family and me. I want to focus on maximizing student achievement and building a collaborative environment with staff, students and parents.”

While Kochanski is a new hire for the district, Nowacki was appointed as the BHS principal, promoted from her current assistant principal position to replace Michael Ferguson, who is also retiring.

Nowacki arrived in the district just last fall from the Wayne Westland School District, where she also served as assistant principal. She previously taught English and Spanish for seven years at Trenton High School. Nowacki is currently enrolled in the education specialist program at Wayne State University, majoring in curriculum and instruction and minoring in educational leadership. She earned her master’s degree in secondary education from WSU and has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

“I feel privileged to have acquired the position of the high school principal in such a great community,” said Nowacki. “The parents in the community and the school staff are very student-focused. One of the things I want to start working on immediately is creating an even safer student environment and work on revising bullying prevention procedures and programs. I have seen an increase in cyber bullying and want to make sure all students feel comfortable at the school. I know that it exists, so I want to make sure we are proactive in doing something about it and making it a positive learning environment for all students.”