Jeffrey Swiatowicz was named principal of John Jay Middle School in South Salem Thursday, April 12. Swiatowicz, who has served as assistant principal of East Ridge Middle School for the past eight years, will start his new job July 1.

“I’m really excited about it. John Jay has a tremendous number of options for students, and I’m really excited about that,” Swiatowicz said Monday, April 16. “Through the entire process, that has just been such a warm and welcoming community that I’m excited to join.”

Swiatowicz said he was looking forward to the opportunities available to students at John Jay, including a language program that offers French, Spanish, and Latin, with talk of adding Mandarin Chinese as well. He said he was also excited about the opportunities students would have to connect with their teachers and subject matter in the classroom.

Before he returned to Ridgefield to work as an assistant principal at East Ridge, Swiatowicz served as an assistant principal at Roger Ludlowe Middle School in Fairfield. The Newtown native was previously Ridgefield’s district math coordinator, and a math teacher at Branchville Elementary School and East Ridge Middle School (ERMS).

He received a bachelor of science degree in elementary math from York College of Pennsylvania, a master of science degree in reading and literacy from Western Connecticut State University, and an administrative certification through the University of Connecticut.

Rich Leprine, the current principal of John Jay Middle School, is retiring, the Katonah-Lewisboro school district said in a press release.

While Swiatowicz said he’s excited about the new role, he also said it would be hard to leave ERMS, where he’s spent years developing relationships with staff, parents, and students.

“In a people-driven industry, our product is young adults, so you develop strong relationships with people,” he said. “So I’ll miss relationships that I’ve developed with students and parents here, that I’ve developed with staff here. I’ve watched people grow and kids be born, people getting married, you’re just a witness to that. It’s hard to leave that.”