ADAMS -- After 18 years at the helm of St. Stanislaus Kostka School, Sister Jac queline M. Karanowski will step down as principal on Aug. 1 and begin her new role at the school as director of mission effectiveness and finance.
It's a decision she said was made as the role of the principal has grown over her tenure.
"The responsibility of the head of the school has grown exponentially over the last 18 years that it exceeds the capacity of a single position. The diocese has agreed that the responsibilities now warrant an employee and a half," she said Friday. "I felt that at a time when the school is celebrating 100 years, it was an ideal time for renewal, fresh air and new ideas. I couldn't leave. So we agreed the best thing would be for me to continue on in a new role. We agreed that I would be that half-time person."
Beginning in August, Karanowski will work alongside the newly appointed principal, Janet Tremblay, who comes to the position with 15 years of academic experience in various grades and administrative positions. Tremblay, who will be the first lay person to become principal in the school's 100-year history, taught at St. Stanislaus in 1994.
"We are truly grateful and blessed that Sister Jacqueline has agreed to stay on and continue playing an important role in St. Stanislaus School," Sister Andrea Ciszewski, superintendent of schools for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, said in an email. "Her vocation
She added, "St. Stanislaus will now benefit from the talents of our new principal, Miss Janet Tremblay, while still being blessed by Sister Jacqueline's continuing involvement in the school. This is certainly a win-win situation for this diocesan school."
The Rev. Daniel J. Boyle, pastor of Blessed Pope John Paul Parish in Adams, said Tuesday that one of Karanowski's greatest strengths is the relationships she cultivates at the school.
"She is a principal par excellence," he said. "She has a wonderful rapport with the children, with the parents and with her faculty. She is a very attentive listener and once she has all the facts, she is not afraid to make a decision."
Boyle added, "The children love her. There is a great chemistry between them. She is just a beloved figure and leader in the school community and in many respects the larger parish community. Over the years, she has earned the respect and admiration of just about everybody."
Karanowski, who was appointed principal of the school in September 1994, taught fifth grade at the school on two prior occasions, from 1965 to 1966 and from 1993 to 1994.
"When I taught in 1965, I had a class of 52 students," she said. "Small classes had about 44 students."
But she said one of the biggest change she has seen during her tenure as principal has been the integration of technology in the classroom.
"When I took over as principal, the Internet was just a baby. Now it plays a huge role in the classroom and it continues to advance," Karanowski said.
The other striking change, she said, is the partnerships that have grown with the surrounding public schools.
"Our relationship with the North Adams Public Schools, Hoosac Valley and McCann have just been wonderful," she said. "The administrators work to do everything they are allowed to do to help our students succeed, whether its special evaluations or special tutoring. They have provided our students with speech and language and even summer tutoring."
One highlight, Karanowski said, has been the school's involvement with the Reading Institute in Williamstown.
"Randy and Janet Stratton of offered and delivered some wonderful instruction over the last few years that has really raised our teaching standards," she said. "They have left a wonderful mark on our program."