Berwick Elementary School celebrates principal


BERWICK — Cheers emanated from the school’s gym to the tune of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” but the children stomped and clapped with the words “We love, we love, Tompkins … We love, we love, Tompkins.”

Students held up signs demonstrating their love for Debbie Tompkins, and teachers wore construction paper capes bearing Tompkins’ initials, an homage to her leadership abilities.

With the naming of a permanent principal, Berwick Elementary School is moving on.

The school celebrated Tompkins this morning with a short pep rally to both congratulate her and to thank her for taking the reins successfully during a trying summer.

Tompkins was suddenly thrust into the top position at the school after an audit revealed former secretary Penny T. Crappell allegedly misappropriated $58,000 in school funds, forcing then-Principal Steve Russo to leave his position.

But, today wasn’t about that.

After an email was sent to the faculty Thursday morning by Superintendent Donald Aguillard announcing Tompkins, teachers rallied to put together this morning’s festivities.

“Nine outstanding candidates interviewed on Wednesday to become the instructional leader of Berwick Elementary School. Each applicant expressed the belief that BES is a great school! All articulated a vision that Berwick Elementary School has the capacity to become an ‘A’ labeled school,” Aguillard’s email said.

“I extend my thanks to the assistance provided by the Berwick professional and support staff in articulating the characteristics desired in a principal. The selection process proved difficult given the overall strength of the applicant pool. In the end, I am pleased to announce my selection of Mrs. Debbie Tompkins to serve as the principal of Berwick Elementary School.

“Mrs. Tompkins has clearly demonstrated the leadership qualities desired by the professional and support personnel of BES. Please join me in working closely with Mrs. Tompkins to lead the BES learning community.”

Tompkins was presented with a bouquet of flowers and balloons by the faculty.

She quickly addressed her school before sending the students to start their day.

“With everything I have to take care of during the day, my favorite part of the day is when I see each and every one of you,” she told the students.

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