Hampshire Regional taps assistant principal Hotz as interim principal for year

  • LAUREN HOTZ

Staff Writer
Published: 5/17/2021 7:38:30 PM

WESTHAMPTON — The Hampshire Regional School District has appointed Lauren Hotz, assistant/associate principal at the high school, which serves high school and middle school students, as interim principal for the next school year.

Current Principal Kristen Smidy will be departing Hampshire Regional at the end of July to take a job as superintendent of Gateway Regional School District.

Hotz, who joined Hampshire Regional three years ago, said that stepping up to the interim principal role felt like “the natural next step for me and the school, particularly as the district continues to implement initiatives started before and during the pandemic.

“It’s just been such a pleasure to work for this school,” Hotz said. “The kids are great, and families have been great, especially throughout the pandemic.”

Much of Hotz’s continuing work will include “realigning and readjusting our curriculum so that teachers can address the different gaps that happened this year,” Hotz said, “and just really digging into the standards and adjust what we’re teaching based on what we weren’t able to get to.”

Additionally, the district is planning for summer programming that can help students — some of whom hadn’t been to school in person for over a year — to reintegrate into a more traditional school setting, and extra support for sixth graders transitioning into the high school, which serves grades seven through 12.

Hotz plans to apply for the permanent position, which will be open in July 2022. She previously worked in Springfield schools for eight years as a middle and high school teacher and assistant principal.

Hotz, an Easthampton resident, graduated from Hampshire Regional High School and also attended elementary school in the district. She studied at the University of Masschusetts Amherst, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in English and master’s in education.

In a statement, interim Superintendent Michael Sullivan called Hotz “a skilled communicator, tireless problem solver, and natural collaborator whom we feel fortunate to have available to become the school’s leader on July 1st.”

The school is currently in the process of filling Hotz’s assistant principal role for next year, Sullivan said, and expects to have this process completed within the next two weeks.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.

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