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Interim Principal Ready To Lead John Jay High

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – John Goetz, the new principal of John Jay High School, is retired.

In fact, the 65-year-old veteran educator retired five years ago, but can’t seem to shake free completely. He keeps coming back to the education business. Since his retirement in 2007, Goetz has returned to take on interim posts nearly every year. He was named the interim principal of John Jay last month and replaces Ellen Doherty, who retired in April.

Goetz began his education career as a social studies teacher in Sacred Heart Parish in Yonkers. He got his first taste of administrative work when he was named assistant principal in Yorktown in 1981. Since then, he has been both a principal and a district superintendent. He says all that experience has given him the gravitas to step in when school districts need more time to conduct a search to fill an administration position.

“I am not looking for a permanent position,” he said. “There have been lots of changes in education over the past few years, and it takes time to fill these positions – sometimes as long as six months. It’s not as quick as people think. There are few folks like myself who are interested in these sorts of things (interim jobs). It suits me well.”

Goetz said that changeover in administrators can be stressful but that he thinks John Jay High is resilient and will cope just fine.

“This is a nice district,” he said. “The kids come to learn, the resources are good, and the parents are supportive. The school has a great reputation. It just needs a steady hand.”

Goetz said his staff has been very supportive and the school has three veteran vice principals on whom he can rely

“That’s what attracted to me to all this,” he said.

Goetz’s resume includes stints as an interim superintendent at Monroe, Conn., and Brookfield, Conn., schools. He also spent nine years as principal at Orville H. Pratt High in Meriden, Conn., and nine years as principal at Danbury High School where, in 2002, he was named Principal of the Year by the Connecticut Association of Schools.

“It’s been an interesting journey where I seemed to have been at the right place at the right time,” he said. “I’ve met some interesting people.”

As for his upcoming stint at the helm of John Jay, Goetz, who is married and has four grown daughters, says he can't wait to get started.

“I’m happy to be here,” he said. “What makes each school different is the culture, and that’s what I’m trying to get a handle on.”

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