MONROE, CT — Masuk High School Principal Dr. Jacob Greenwood enjoyed leading the school for the past two years, but the lure of returning to the district where his education career began was too strong.
Greenwood recently accepted the principal job at Ridgefield High School and the Ridgefield Board of Education unanimously approved the hire at a meeting Monday night. His first day will be Aug. 1.
“It has brought me great joy during these past two years to share in the continual growth and development of this school system,” Greenwood wrote in an email to Monroe families, notifying them of his decision. “Masuk is, without a doubt, a special place.”
Greenwood said Masuk is “an exceptional place to learn and grow for all students,” offering “a vibrant, exciting environment where students are allowed the freedom to find and pursue their passions.”
He also praised the staff members who “always put students first and foster a positive learning environment where students’ minds and hearts are nourished.”
Greenwood was assistant principal at Darien High School when he was hired as Masuk’s new principal in April of 2018, after then principal Joseph Kobza was promoted to assistant superintendent of schools.
“He’s done a great job at Masuk and he initiated some really good programs,” said Kobza, who is now acting superintendent. “It’s going to be a big loss for us. Our loss is Ridgefield’s gain for sure.”
Among the initiatives, Kobza said Greenwood led a lesson study at the high school to help improve instruction and assessment and positioned Masuk for a block schedule by next year (2021-21).
“Jake was a valued member of the team,” said Donna Lane, chairwoman of the Monroe Board of Education. “We wish him and his family well in all his future endeavors.”
‘Nothing short of magical’
Kobza calls Greenwood a “systems thinker.” “He doesn’t think only about the high school,” Kobza said. “He thinks of the entire district and I respect and admire him for that.”
Greenwood guided Masuk through a challenging year amid the coronavirus pandemic that affected school districts across the nation.
“He did a great job working with the leadership team at the high school, preparing them for distance learning and maneuvering them through the last three months,” Kobza said. “I always had complete confidence in the direction of the high school with him at the helm.”
Greenwood said working with community members and parents over the past two years was a “distinct honor,” leading up to organizing Masuk’s graduation ceremony on Friday.
“The spirit of this school community was never more on display than during the graduation celebration we shared together this past weekend,” Greenwood wrote. “The collaborative and caring way that this community supported our seniors was nothing short of magical.”
“I feel very fortunate to have been a part of Masuk High School and will always cherish the memories we built together,” he wrote to the families. “You are an incredibly supportive parent community and your children are a reflection of your beliefs and values. It was my privilege to serve all of you over the past two years.”
Kobza said Central Office will post the position to find a new principal for Masuk soon, adding Greenwood gave his commitment to assist with the transition.
“He started his career in Ridgefield,” Kobza said. “It was a good fit for him. It’s kind of like coming home for him. I wish he wasn’t leaving us, but I totally understand the opportunity and wish him the best in his next move. I’m sure our paths will cross again.”
Greenwood was a biology teacher in Ridgefield in 1999, and went on to become a dean of students, and chairman of the science department in the district. Then he was hired at Darien High School in 2012, before coming to Masuk two years ago.
Now Greenwood’s career will come full circle when he takes the helm at Ridgefield High School this summer.
“I always knew if this opportunity arose to come back to Ridgefield, I would absolutely pursue it,” Greenwood told the Ridgefield Board of Education at a special meeting Monday. “I feel so fortunate to be able to work with Dr. Da Silva again and truly to serve this community, because it’s certainly been a dream of mine to come back. It just feels really good to be home. I’m just super excited.”
Dr. Susie Da Silva, superintendent of schools in Ridgefield, said it was with “great pleasure and enthusiasm” that she and the school board appointed Greenwood to serve as the new principal of Ridgefield High School.
“Dr. Greenwood went through a very comprehensive interview process,” Da Silva said. “What I would say resonated the most is his core values — focused on students. Of all the qualities that he will bring to Ridgefield High School, his spirit and when he spoke about children and their families elevated itself far beyond everything else.”
Da Silva said she looks forward to the many contributions Greenwood will make when he returns back home to Ridgefield.
“We’re excited to have you back in Ridgefield,” said Margaret Stamatis, chairwoman of the Ridgefield Board of Education.
After having vetted Greenwood as the top candidate for the job, Stamatis said, “it’s clear that you are a role model for the core values that we have at Ridgefield High School: a sense of collaboration, innovation, mindfulness, communication, knowledge and resilience.”