St. John’s School welcomes first male principalBy Mary Ann Price
Sean Richardson, the new principal at St. John the Evangelist School, is the first male principal the school has had since it opened its doors in 1883. A native of Lowell, he attended parochial schools and then St. John’s Seminary in Brighton and graduated with a degree in philosophy.
Following graduation, Richardson created an educational products catalogue, worked for Little Brown and Company Publishers, and co-managed the Neuchatel chocolate shop at the Chestnut Hill Mall before earning a graduate degree in teaching at Boston College. He said he realized that he had a passion for helping students achieve their greatest potential.
He taught grades four through eight at Blessed Sacrament School in Walpole for five years and then moved on to Balch School in South Norwood where he taught grades four and five for ten years, focusing on technology.
“I wired my own classroom in Norwood,” he said with a laugh. “I was always very interested in educational technology.”
At Balch School, he wrote a grant to the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation to fund the first SMART boards in Norwood. He also became an Intel master teacher and provided professional development to teachers on the Microsoft Office Suite. In the spring of 2009, Richardson was named Teacher of the Year in Norwood.
While in Norwood, he received administrative certification. In September of 2009, he was named principal of Wood School in Plainville, which had 350 students in grades four, five and six. Last winter, he knew he was ready for a change and that he wanted to work in a small school where he could affect students and staff.
“I refer to myself as a teaching principal,” Richardson said. “I like being in the classroom and helping teachers with their craft.”
He is thrilled to be in a building with one classroom per grade. “It’s really exciting in terms of working with the staff,” he said. “I definitely feel at home here.”
Richardson sees his role at St. John’s as the educational and spiritual leader of the school, to make sure that its students receive an outstanding education and to help the staff with their teaching.
“There’s a critical need in our society for families to have the opportunity to have a faith-based education with strong academics,” he said.
While he plans to spend time getting to know the school community in his first year as principal, he also wants to introduce a Response to Intervention program and create a middle school science lab in the next few years.
Richardson and his wife, Barbara, have a son, Brian, who is 17. Besides spending time with his family, he likes gardening and is a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Norwood, which provides financial assistance to needy residents.
He enjoys studying the weather and belongs to a couple of weather organizations. “I also like weird pets,” he said. In Norwood, he had a five-foot boa constrictor and a tarantula.
For St. John’s? “I’m hoping to get a python for the office,” he said.
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