Brackman, Dunfee Schools Get New Principals

Jul 18, 2018
Supplied Photo Principal Shannon Smith with Superintendent Brian Latwis, Ed.D.

Two Barnegat Township schools will begin September with new principals, John Fiorentino at the Lillian Dunfee Elementary School and Shannon Smith at the Russell Brackman Middle School. The appointments were announced at a recent board of education meeting.

Fiorentino replaces Kathy Makela, who was principal the past 12 years and had worked at Dunfee since beginning her education career in 1981. Smith, who was formerly Brackman vice principal, takes over Fiorentino’s post as principal.

The 51-year-old Fiorentino has been in public education for nearly 25 years, and he came to Barnegat 13 years ago as Brackman vice principal. He became principal in 2013. He has undergraduate and graduate education degrees from Trenton State (now College of New Jersey) and New Jersey City University.

“Brackman will always be a special place for me,” he said. “I feel I’m ready to take on some new challenges at an elementary school, where you have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of younger children. My priority will be to foster a climate and culture of academic success. Kathy (Makela) started some outstanding programs at Dunfee, and I feel honored to be able to continue them.”

Smith, 36,  joined the district in September 2004 as technical teacher and cheerleader head coach at the newly opened Barnegat High School. She has a computer information systems degree from High Point University in North Carolina and a master’s in education administration and supervision from the University of Phoenix.

“I’m more excited today of serving as the next principal of Brackman than I’ve ever been in my educational career,” said Smith. “That isn’t because of the position – it is because of the people – all of you. The people that make our Brackman Family so special – from our secretaries to the custodians, to guidance and CST (child study team), security guards and nurses, bus drivers and cafeteria workers, the librarian, the students, parents, admin team, and of course our teachers. It’s the people, not programs, who determine the quality of a school, and here at Brackman we have those people – the passionate, hardworking, dedicated individuals who offer so much to our Brackman community. This is why I love my Brackman family. Leadership is making happen that in which you believe. I believe that here at Brackman ‘Everybody is Somebody.’ My only promise is that I will work hard every day and allow my actions to tell the story of who I am and of my commitment to this school. Thank you all for this opportunity, and I can’t want to see all of the many things we will accomplish together in the years to come.”

Brian Latwis, who became district superintendent last month, added, “Shannon has so much energy and heart; I can’t wait to see what she does when school opens. And John is a great fit for Dunfee because he has a lot of knowledge as an experienced administrator and is also a very caring individual.”

— Eric Englund

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