Early childhood education can be some of the most important instruction children receive.
It sets the academic foundation for the child’s life and can shape the way they learn and interact with the world around them.
For many years, Cheshire’s early childhood educational and developmental programs have been award-winning, and Darcey School has been at the forefront of many innovative and effective programs. This past month, Darcey School has seen a change in leadership since principal Ann Donnery retired after eight years, paving the way for newly-hired principal Kimberly Dessert to take her place.
“… Ann has dedicated herself to serving the students in our community and she has done a masterful job …” stated Cheshire Superintendent of Schools Jeff Solan, at the June 4 Board of Education meeting. “From supporting our District transition to full-day [kindergarten], the incredible work she’s done with SmartStart; bringing early childhood education to so many more kids in our community; the NAEYC accreditation; …Ann did an incredible amount of work to prepare us to become one of the marquee early childhood preparation centers in Connecticut …”
At the June 4 meeting, Solan introduced Dessert to the rest of the Board, which unanimously approved her appointment as principal.
“It is with great honor tonight that we appoint someone to take over the responsibility of Darcey and what it represents in our community. We believe that this candidate has all the right capacity to build on that incredible reputation,” announced Solan.
Dessert has 28 years of experience with early childhood education, serving as a teacher, literacy coach, and principal, among other duties. Dessert served as principal to Kelly Lane Primary School in Granby for 12 years before making the move to Cheshire.
“I am incredibly excited to be joining a school and a community that has the reputation that it does, and to be working with such a talented group of people,” Dessert told The Herald. “I am such a supporter of social emotional learning, which the District really focuses on here.”
Dessert is a graduate of University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, and she received her Master’s degree from Central Connecticut State University. Dessert’s passions lie specifically with early childhood education, which Solan believes will be a perfect fit for Darcey School.
“We had a lot of really good candidates, but Kim really stood out because of her emphasis on learning integrated into play, which is so important to kids at that age,” said Solan. “She has a reading background, being a literacy coach, which I think will be incredibly valuable to our team as well.”
According to Dessert, “play” is one of the most important teaching tools in early childhood learning, and she is dedicated to utilizing that strategy when she begins at Darcey this fall.
“When kids play, they learn so much. From building important relationships to learning how to interact with the world around them, that collaborative relationship is so important to the foundation of our children’s lives,” she added.
Despite being hired amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Dessert is excited to begin in the fall, and was impressed by the school grounds when she was given a tour.
“I just love how integrated the school is with the nature around it,” Dessert remarked. “The trees and natural landscape around the school are really inspiring.”