Ridgefield High School names new principal

Dr. Jacob (Jake) Greenwood has been named the new principal at Ridgefield High School. Greenwood previously taught at the school from 1999 to 2012.

Dr. Jacob (Jake) Greenwood has been named the new principal at Ridgefield High School. Greenwood previously taught at the school from 1999 to 2012.

Ridgefield Public Schools / Contributed Photo

RIDGEFIELD — Ridgefield High School has a new principal — and he won’t need a tour of the place.

Dr. Jacob Greenwood, a former biology teacher and dean of students at Ridgefield High, has been chosen to replace Stacey Gross, who is leaving at the end of June after announcing her retirement last November.

Greenwood was announced as the new principal during a special Board of Education meeting that streamed Monday night on the Ridgefield Public Schools’ YouTube channel.

Greenwood taught biology at the high school from 1999 to 2012 and was promoted to dean of students in 2006 and science department chair in 2009. Greenwood left the high school to become assistant principal at Darien High School. For the last two school years, Greenwood has been the principal of Masuk High School in Monroe.

“As I began my educational career in RHS, the Ridgefield community has always held a special place in my heart, and I am humbled and excited for the opportunity to return as principal,” Greenwood said in a statement Monday. “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to serve the students, families, and staff of Ridgefield once again.”

In the news release, Superintendent Susie Da Silva said the district conducted a comprehensive search, and that Greenwood’s experience as a Fairfield County principal, DRG (District Reference Group) A assistant principal, and a Ridgefield High teacher and administrator “struck the (district)as invaluable.”

Da Silva noted Greenwood’s experience in connecting with students and families, collaborating with faculty, and embracing innovation.

“The most successful principals these days are fairly hands-on,” Greenwood said in a phone interview Tuesday morning. “I know the parents appreciated Stacey Gross’s connection with the students and the community, and I also believe in that approach.”

In her recommendation of Greenwood, Darien High Principal Ellen Dunn wrote, “he had tremendously strong relationships with students ... and wonderful relationships with teachers. You will be very lucky to have him.”

“The one thing you need to know is that he is the real deal,” wrote Joseph Kobza, an assistant superintendent at Masuk High School. “This will be a huge loss for his district.”

“I can think of no better administrator to lead a school community,” wrote Ellen Spark, a former assistant principal at Darien High. “Dr. Greenwood leads with the premise that all students matter.”

Greenwood, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire, a master’s degree from the University of Southern Maine, and a doctoral degree from Western Connecticut State University, will start Aug. 1.

One major question looms: Will Ridgefield and the rest of Connecticut’s schools begin the 2020-21 academic year in person or online, or with a mix of those two options?

“We are all anxiously awaiting more guidelines [from the state],” Greenwood said. “I am hoping we can get back in the classroom, but if distance learning continues then it’s helpful for me that I still know a bulk of the faculty. I do take some comfort in that.”