Longtime principal will take interim post at Hatfield Elementary

  • Tim Luce, the principal at Maple School in Easthampton who recently retired, says hello to students in Susan Syer’s second grade class during a visit September 2014. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Tim Luce, the principal at Maple School in Easthampton who recently retired, says hello to students in Susan Syer’s second-grade class during a visit in September 2014. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/24/2019 11:30:02 PM

HATFIELD — Thomas “Tim” Luce, a retired school administrator, will be interim principal of Hatfield Elementary School for the coming academic year. Superintendent John Robert made the announcement Tuesday.

Luce retired in 2014 from his position of principal at Maple Elementary School in Easthampton. He spent 30 years in education, serving as principal of schools in Heath, Conway and Cornish, New Hampshire. He also was interim principal of New Hingham Regional Elementary School during the 2017-2018 academic year. 

He will be temporarily taking over from Jennifer Chapin, who was principal of Hatfield Elementary School for more than a decade and left the district this summer to be assistant principal of Westfield Intermediate School. She cited the opportunity for growth as a reason for her departure.

After her departure, a group of School Committee members and teachers helped in the search process and decided on Luce. 

“The committee felt that Mr. Luce’s demeanor, student-centered focus, and extensive experience as an elementary school principal made him an ideal candidate for the interim position,” the district said in a statement.

The position is on an interim basis because the School Committee had a short period of time for the search, Robert said, and because after Robert retires at the end of next school year after a decade in the district, there may be larger changes to the district administration. 

“They also felt they may want to look at potentially restructuring the district after I’m gone,” Robert said of the School Committee, giving the example of potentially creating a dual principal/superintendent position.

Luce starts Aug. 1 and will work through the end of the coming school year, and will be paid $435 per day, according to his contract signed Tuesday. 

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.


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