The Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) announced the selection of the 2012 Assistant Principals of the Year. Congratulations to these outstanding administrators!
• Bridgette Gordon-Hickey, Regional Multicultural Magnet School, New London 2012 Elementary School Assistant Principal of the Year.
• Vicenta Gibbons, , Orange 2012 Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year.
• Tiffany Violette, South Windsor High School 2012 High School Assistant Principal of the Year.
Each year, nominations are submitted for the Elementary, Middle, and High School Assistant Principal of the Year awards. The winners are chosen by the CAS Awards and Recognition Committee, a selection committee consisting of active and retired principals and assistant principals.
Vicenta "Vi" Gibbons
Vicenta Gibbons, assistant principal of (AMSO), is the 2012 CAS Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year. Now in her twelfth year at AMSO, she is credited with fostering a vibrant, caring, student-oriented culture where students can grow socially and emotionally as well as academically.
A passionate advocate of the middle school philosophy, Gibbons continues to enjoy the challenges of finding ways to meet the unique needs of young adolescent learners.
She helped successfully transform AMSO from a junior high into an effective middle school which now serves as a supportive, personalized learning community where team leadership is prized and parents are fully engaged in the lives of their students.
Gibbons was nominated for the award by her principal, , eighth grade school counselor Bobbie Miller, and nine members of the AMSO faculty and staff.
Fuller-Cutler said, “I count my blessings that I have such an amazing woman to work with each day, one who is willing to collaborate, to share the load and to keep an open mind to new ideas and new possibilities for AMSO.”
Upon learning of her award, Gibbons said, “I am both proud and humbled to receive the prestigious award of Connecticut Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year. I love working together with my entire school community to improve every aspect of students' lives. Students, at any age, need to be nurtured, loved, guided, and taught on their own terms while conveying to them the benefits of learning differently from all that life has to offer. It really does take a village to teach each child and I am proud to be a part of that village.”
Gibbons welcomes nearly 400 students into her building each day and somehow manages to make each and every one of them feel special. A leader who exudes warmth and good will, she has excelled at making personal connections with every student in her building.
Recalls former student Gina Mondo, “I can remember so distinctly how Mrs. Gibbons was able to relate to all her students. It did not matter if you were an honor student, a jock, a troubled student, a transfer student or just your average, everyday student. It was a guarantee that Mrs. Gibbons would know more than just your name.”
Gibbons leads by example, always exhibiting the characteristics of honesty, respect, and kindness that she works to instill in her students on a daily basis. Recognizing that students benefit from regular interaction with at least one adult in school who is concerned about their well-being and progress, Gibbons strives each day to make sure that every student feels a sense of belonging and connection to the school.
As chair of the School Climate Committee, she has introduced several programs, including the “Jackie Robinson’s Nine Traits to Live By” character education initiative, which have helped create a nurturing, safe community where each member feels valued and supported.
Fuller-Cutler said, “Vi works to ensure that AMSO is a school where students and faculty want to come to work each day.”
A steady listener and tireless leader, Gibbons is respected among staff, students, and parents alike. She consistently displays a positive attitude which inspires and energizes all those with whom she works.
Her colleague Jason Tracy, associate principal of , said, “Although small in stature, Vi possesses a larger than life personality and advocates for her students and staff with the love and dedication of a mother lioness.”
Gibbons earned her undergraduate degree from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven and her master’s degree and sixth year certificate from Southern Connecticut State University.
Upon her graduation in 1976, she took a job as a Spanish teacher at Coleytown Junior High School in Westport. In 1978, she joined the Amity Regional School District and has remained there ever since, serving as a Spanish teacher at the high school for twenty-one years before being appointed as assistant principal of AMSO in 1999.