New principal at Kennedy School; Smyth takes district post

Bonnie Etense is the new principal of John F. Kennedy School.

Etense came to Milford in 2006 as a grade five teacher, serving at Simon Lake School and then Pumpkin Delight.

In 2015, Etense became Teacher Leader at Live Oaks School, where she was involved in strengthening school climate, assisting in school management, collaborating with teachers in designing interventions, assisting with SAT and 504 meetings, participating in PPT meetings, monitoring student attendance and truancy concerns, and more.

“Collaboration and developing strong relationships with parents, staff and parents are central to her work ethic,” School Supt. Dr. Feser said in an email to staff announcing the post.

Etense earned her BA in elementary education and speech communication from Hofstra University, her MA in teaching and foundations from Fairfield University and her Sixth Year in educational leadership, administration from Sacred Heart University.

She begins in her new role on Aug. 10.

She replaces Sean Smyth, who has been named to the position of instructional supervisor of district improvement. Smyth will replace Shannan Carlson, who is the new East Shore Middle School principal.

Smyth has been an educator in Milford for the last 18 years. In 1999 he began as a fifth grade teacher, and the last 11 years he has been principal of John F. Kennedy School.

“Sean is a thoughtful, collaborative, caring leader,” Dr. Feser wrote in announcing the appointment. “He is also an innovative thinker who continuously pushes himself, his staff and colleagues, to think deeply and critically. He has extensive knowledge and expertise yet continually seeks to learn more.”

In addition to his work in the school building, he was a member of a small team working with the Connecticut Center for School Change on district improvement; he also served on many district committees, such as the District Continuous Improvement Team, Reconfiguration committee and the K-5 Literacy committee.

Smyth is expected to formally assume his new role sometime in August. He will continue to support the JFK School community during its transition, Dr. Feser wrote.