A graduate of the Cheshire schools and son of a retired Doolittle Elementary School teacher has been hired as the new principal of Dodd Middle School.
The Board of Education on Thursday hired Michael Woods to the $134,000-a-year post. Woods is currently the assistant principal at Saxe Middle School in New Canaan, a job he has held for the last five years.
Superintendent of Schools Greg Florio said Woods will likely start sometime in February. Woods replaces Jeffrey Solan, who was promoted to the principal’s job at Cheshire High School this year, replacing Kevin Ryan, who resigned.
Florio said Woods emerged as the top candidate after “a very thorough and rigorous search process.”
“He’s been in a very good school for five years so he’s got a very solid foundation that’s going to transfer right to Dodd,” Florio said.
Florio said retired Dodd Principal Donald Wailonis, who has been serving as interim principal during the search, will stay on as needed to assist with the transition.
Woods began his career in Madison, where he currently lives, as an eighth-grade social studies teacher. He did his undergraduate work at Quinnipiac University, where he also earned his Master’s in teaching. He earned his sixth-year certificate in educational leadership from Sacred Heart University.
Board of Education President Gerry Brittingham said in meeting with Woods “it was readily and rapidly apparent that he is a dedicated, intelligent, keen, gifted man.”
Board of Education member Stephen Mrowka, who was Woods’ high school chemistry teacher, remembered him as someone with “strong leadership qualities and a good work ethic” and “who took my constructive criticism in a positive manner.”
Woods said he was thrilled to be returning to his roots in Cheshire. “It’s an honor to come back to a community that’s offered me so much,” he said.