SOUTHINGTON — Frank Pepe, DePaolo Middle School principal, will lead Southington High School starting in July following his appointment by the school board Thursday night.
He’ll succeed Brian Straniari who retires this summer.
Pepe has been DePaolo principal since 2007. He’s also served as a teacher and administrator in the Hamden School system.
After the appointment, he said the departure from DePaolo was “bittersweet” but added he was eager to lead one of the state’s largest high schools.
The Board of Education voted unanimously to appoint Pepe.
“I get to now go to the big house with even more kids,” he said. The high school has “an incredibly talented staff... a strong leadership team. I can’t wait to get started. I’m ready to go.”
School board president Brian Goralski said one board member not present for Thursday’s vote, Joseph Baczewski, also supported Pepe’s appointment.
Goralski pointed to Pepe’s resume.
“It speaks for itself why we picked him,” he said.
The board set Pepe’s salary at $165,722. Last year Stranieri made $168,802.
Goralski said the board was impressed with all the finalists.
“I couldn’t be happier to have a leader with diverse experience, who knows our district, who knows what we want,” Goralski said.
He said the district will soon post the DePaolo principal job and is looking to fill it as soon as possible.
The high school is undertaking accreditation and Pepe said that’ll be a priority for him in the new role.