Amherst names principal at Fort River School

  • Fort River Elementary School in Amherst GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/19/2021 5:15:40 PM

AMHERST — After initially pulling out as a finalist for the Fort River School principal position, Michelle Hernandez reconsidered and will begin her tenure leading the school next month.

A letter to families from Superintendent Michael Morris announced that Hernandez, an assistant principal at the Dr. Marcella R. Kelly School in Holyoke, will assume the principalship duties Aug. 2.

Morris cited her four years in Holyoke and experience as a paraeducator and teacher in the Chicopee schools for 10 years as making Hernandez a good fit at the school where Caminantes, the dual-language English and Spanish program, continues to expand.

“Additionally, Ms. Hernandez has experience in leading a dual language program similar to Caminantes; providing professional development on instructional practices; and promoting high-quality family engagement,” Morris wrote.

Both Principal Diane Chamberlain and Assistant Principal Renee Greenfield announced in January their departures effective July.

School officials conducted two searches for the Fort River job. The first search interviewed four candidates but ended without success due to the preferred candidate getting another job. The second search nearly came to an end after Hernandez dropped out, despite being recommended as a finalist.

Chamberlain will continue to be the primary administrative contact for Fort River until Hernandez starts.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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