NORTH ADAMS --Armed with a clipboard and smile, newly appointed Brayton Elementary School Principal John Franzoni was at ease Wednesday morning as he directed students to their classrooms and reassured nervous parents dropping off children for the first day of school.
"This is my second week in the position and we're off to a great start. All of the teachers and staff have made me feel right at home. They've worked hard to help me out, getting the school ready," he said.
Franzoni, who most recently served as assistant principal at Greylock and Sullivan elementary schools, was named principal of Brayton on Aug. 21. He follows Sarah Madden, who left the North Adams Public Schools on June 30 to become principal of R.K. Finn Ryan Road School in Northampton.
"Mr. Franzoni is a dedicated professional with a proven track record as an administrator who, I believe, will provide consistent and supportive leadership for our Brayton community," Superintendent James E. Montepare said in a written statement, announcing the appointment.
Prior to being appointed assistant principal at Greylock and Sullivan schools in 2012, Franzoni served as the dean of students for those two elementary schools for two years. His first administrative role with the district began with his appointment as Drury High School's athletic director in 2005 and as liaison to the Northern Berkshire Juvenile Court, roles he remained in until 2011. Prior to that, he was an eighth grade math teacher at the former Silvio O. Conte Middle School.
"One of the hardest parts of moving into this role is not coaching the [Drury] girls' varsity basketball team after 11 years," he said. "It was a tough conversation to have with the girls, especially since we've built up such a great basketball family. It's one of the tough parts of the transition, but this position needs my full attention."
His desire to become a principal began three years ago, he said, when he started taking classes for his certification.
"This is the best ‘tough job' anyone can do," Franzoni said. "There are a lot of long hours and a lot of challenges, but the reward is getting to be a positive influence for young children."
One of the biggest influences in his decision to become a principal, he said, was his grandfather Stephen Drotter, who served as principal of Drury High School from 1956 to 1976. The high school library is named after Drotter.
"I went to Drury after he had left, but he definitely had a big influence on my adult education," Franzoni said. "I'm also very fortunate to have had James Montepare as my mentor over the last three years and to have worked so closely with [Drury Principal] Amy Meehan, who influenced my growth as an administrator, for the last 11 years. I've also had wonderful support from [Greylock Principal] Sandy Cote and [Sullivan Principal] Shelley Fachini."
A 1982 graduate of Drury High School, Franzoni holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Bryant University and earned his Master of Education degree in curriculum and teaching in 2013 from Fitchburg State University. He is certified as a principal/assistant principal for pre-kindergarten through grade 12, and is also certified to teach mathematics for grades 5 to 8. He is currently completing his superintendent certification.
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