A new face at Center School: Linda Ashley joins as principal

Aug 22, 2022

MATTAPOISETT — As the new principal of Center School in Mattapoisett, Dr. Linda Ashley has “big shoes to fill,” she said.

Ashley, who started working on July 1, is taking over from Rose Bowman, the previous principal of Center School, who retired after over 20 years in the position

“It’s an honor to have such a great foundation,” said Ashley, who spent the summer meeting with almost all the staff members at Center School and corresponding with Bowman to prepare for the upcoming year. 

“This will be a year to do a lot of listening and learning about the great things happening at Center School,” said Ashley. 

She added that once she becomes more familiar with the school, she would be “looking at opportunities for growth” and to “build on the great things already happening at Center School.”

Ashley describes herself as a very “hands-on” administrator who is typically “out and about” in the school, talking with teachers and students — something she learned while working as an elementary classroom teacher and special education teacher before moving into administration. 

Before working in Mattapoisett, Ashley worked in the Franklin Public School District for about ten years as a principal and as a pre-k-12 curriculum director for English Language Arts and History/Social Studies. 

Ashley has a doctorate in educational leadership from Northeastern University, a master’s degree in moderate special needs from Lesley University, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The search for a new principal involved school committee members, administrators, teachers, support staff, parents — and even students. 

In a video titled, “Will you be our Principal,” students ran through their requirements for their next principal. 

One student said she would like a principal who “has any color hair — but I would prefer black hair.” Another student would like a principal who is “like Catwoman because she’s fast in case of emergencies.”

One young person expressed that a principal should be “passionate about their job.”

It is unclear if Ashley will fulfill every student’s specific requirements, but according to a statement released by Old Rochester Regional School District Superintendent Michael Nelson, Ashley is the right person for the job. 

“Dr. Ashley has considerable experience in elementary teaching, administration and leadership, and has shown a commitment to collaborating with staff and families to support our youngest learners and help them to grow and succeed,” wrote Nelson in a press release. 

Ashley emphasized that she “highly values open communication” between the school and parents. “A strong partnership between schools and families is really important,” she said. 

But right now, leading up to the school year, she’s most excited to meet the students when they return to the classroom on Aug. 30.