Principal steps down at Oysterponds Elementary School

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06/19/2015 3:14 PM |
Joan Frisicano at Tuesdays' Oysterponds school board meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Joan Frisicano at Tuesdays’ Oysterponds school board meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

For the second time in three years, Joan Frisicano is saying goodbye to Oysterponds Elementary School in Orient.

Ms. Frisicano, the district’s former superintendent, has served as the school’s interim principal since the 2013-14 school year while the pre-K through sixth-grade district searched for a permanent replacement after Françoise Wittenburg resigned.

The school’s STEM teacher, Jennifer Wissemann, has been appointed as the new principal and starts her new role July 1.

Ms. Wissemann, who’s worked in the district for over a decade, will act as a “teaching principal” and continue to instruct students with STEM lesson plans.

During Tuesday’s school board meeting, Ms. Frisicano described her experience at Oysterponds as an “absolute delight.”

“It is with a sad heart that I’m leaving,” she said. “It really has been a pleasure and true honor. I hope I lived up to your expectations.”

Ms. Frisicano began working at Oysterponds in December 2010 as interim principal and became interim superintendent after the board completed its buyout of Stuart Rachlin’s contract. She was then named permanent part-time superintendent in April 2011.

She resigned about a year later, citing personal reasons, and was replaced by current Superintendent Richard Malone.

During her tenure, Ms. Frisicano helped the district transition to a combined-grade model as a way to address dwindling enrollment while enhancing student programing. The school has combined eight grades into four classes. Each class has multiple teachers and assistants, including literacy, math and enrichment specialists, and a technology teacher assistant.

“I’ve really enjoyed the new direction the school has taken with multigrade classes and I was happy to be a part of that,” Ms. Frisicano said. “The children are getting an amazing education … I think the new path that we’re on supports all of the elements of 21st-century learning.”

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