In an unprecedented influx of new leadership for Fairfield's public schools, eight of the town's schools will have new principals when the new academic year starts Thursday.

Greg Hatzis, who had been Fairfield Woods Middle School's principal since 2007, last spring was appointed headmaster of Fairfield Ludlowe High School.

"I'm thrilled to be at Ludlowe," said Hatzis, previously a housemaster for Fairfield Ludlowe and Warde high schools. "It's a bit of a homecoming for me as a Falcon."

Hatzis, who in 2002 became district instructional improvement teacher in Fairfield after teaching social studies in New Canaan, replaces Vanessa Reale, who stepped down as the Unquowa Road high school's headmaster after two years.

Hatzis has been replaced at the newly renovated Fairfield Woods by Gary Rosato, the district's director of curriculum, instruction and assessment since 2006, and the principal of Mill Hill Elementary School from 2004-06.

At the elementary school level, three educators came from outside the Fairfield district and one was promoted from within to replace two retiring principals, as well as take the reins from two others reassigned to other local elementary school posts.

These appointments were arranged following the retirement of Principals Alan Lipman, at Osborn Hill Elementary School, and Paul Taoso, at Riverfield Elementary School, and the transfers of Frank Arnone from Holland Hill's principalship to Osborn Hill and Brenda Anziano from Dwight to Riverfield.

Elizabeth McGoey, new to Fairfield as Stratfield Elementary School's new principal, was principal for Stratford's Nichols Elementary School since 2006 after serving as an assistant principal in Norwalk and Dayville.

McGoey said leadership transition meetings held by Superintendent of Schools David Title and Anna Cutaia-Leonard, director of elementary education, have been helpful in getting her up to speed with how the school and the district operate.

"In the past positions, that has not always been there," she said. "As a result, I feel more prepared than I thought I would be."

She said Fairfield and Stratford are different communities, but the challenges of being a principal should be similar at Stratfield Elementary.

"Kids will be kids," she said, adding that she plans to spend her first year getting to know the school and its community before working to enhance an already excellent institution.

"After I'm able to put all that information together, I will then try to make it the best school it can possibly be," she said.

Scott Bannon, New Fairfield Middle School's former interim assistant principal after serving as assistant principal for Meeting House Hill School in New Fairfield, has taken the helm at Dwight Elementary School. Prior to New Fairfield, he was instructional improvement teacher at McKinley Elementary School in Fairfield and taught grades three and five there.

"It's an honor to return to Fairfield as a building leader," he said, adding that he plans on working with parents and students to keep the school moving forward. "I view this as an opportunity to take a school that has performed so well to the next level."

Bannon also said he is grateful for the leadership opportunities he had in New Fairfield's school system.

"My three years there were really a gift," he said.

Laura Cretella, the new principal at Holland Hill Elementary School, was the instructional improvement teacher at McKinley since 2010 and previously taught second and fifth grades at Burr and first grade in Darien.

Jason Bluestein, former assistant principal at Weston Intermediate School who previously held several teaching posts in Fairfield, has become Burr Elementary School's new principal.

He said he looks forward to maintaining and building upon the school's high level of quality education given by a staff that works very well together.

"My goal is always to put the best possible instruction in every classroom," Bluestein said.; 203-255-4561, ext. 112;