Milford names new principal at The Academy alternative school

Danyelle Williams has been named the new principal at The Academy in Milford.

Danyelle Williams has been named the new principal at The Academy in Milford.

Contributed photo

MILFORD — The Academy in Milford has a new principal, according to Superintendent of Schools Anna Cutaia.

Danyelle Williams, who has 20 years experience in the Norwalk school system in special education, takes over for Patricia Drew. Drew has been acting as interim principal for the past year.

“Dr. Williams comes to us with a passionate heart for co-creating an environment where relationships are prioritized in service to ensuring all students are provided every opportunity to reach their goals,” said Cutaia in a statement. “I look forward to welcoming Dr. Williams to our school community.”

The Academy is an alternative education program with a mission to foster independence and to guide students to become empowered, compassionate citizens through an individualized and holistic approach in a community of high expectations, Cutaia said.

Williams said the foundational elements of building and establishing relationships drew her to the Milford Public Schools.

“It is one thing to read about those elements on paper, but I saw it clearly during my interviews with staff and students,” she said. “Milford Public Schools aligns with my personal belief of how we got to know each other and work together to make ourselves better people.”

Williams has experience as a teacher and administrator in special education. She has also served as a case manager for students, working to ensure appropriate services were delivered, and that students continued to make progress.

With the Norwalk schools, Williams was instrumental in supporting students as they moved from elementary to middle school and those transitioning from middle to high school. She also monitored students who were recommended for out-placement programs, in addition to those who were returning from an out-placement appointment.

“As a professional educator for the past 20 years, I have found when I get to know their hearts, working with my students becomes so easy,” she said. “For me, it’s calling, my calling. I am joyful, excited and filled with anticipation to begin this extension of my life’s work in Milford.”

She said her skills as an educator were an ideal fit for The Academy.

“I believe the three most important characteristics that any administrator can have are strong communication skills, setting high expectations for all, and having a strong level of compassion,” she said. “I’m ready to share my skills in these areas with my new school family and can’t wait to get started.”

She said she’s looking forward to continuing to establish strong relationships with staff and students.

“During my interview, several students on the panel commented that the relationships they have developed with the staff at The Academy made all the difference in their experience,” Williams said. “This brought me such joy, as this is something that has been at the very core of my work for my entire career.”

Williams earned a degree in psychology from Xavier University of Louisiana in 1997, with a minor in African American studies. She also earned a master’s degree in education from the school in 1998. She earned a doctorate from Bernelli University in Alexandria, Va. and a certificate in educational administration from Southern Connecticut State University.