Hindley principal on leave for start of school year

Hindley School principal Colella reading A Bear and His Boy, to a group of kindergarten students in Ms. DiCarlo’s class in September 2017. Colella is on leave for the start of the 2018/19 school year as per interim Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon.

As Darien students plan to head back to school Thursday, one of its five elementary schools will have a new face at the helm at least for the time being.

In a letter to parents and guardians of Hindley School students dated Aug. 17, interim Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon wrote, “it is with sadness that I must report to you that your Principal, DJ Colella, will be on leave at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.”

Julie Droller has been appointed interim principal. Droller, who served as K-5 literacy coordinator previously in Darien is a “visionary leader and lifelong learner with over 20 years of experience in education,” Landon wrote.

Droller served as a first and third grade teacher in Ridgefield and before serving as literary coordinator in Darien. She then served as principal of Veterans Park Elementary School in Ridgefield and then principal of Saugatuck Elementary School in Westport in 2011. In 2014 she took on her current role of director of elementary education in Westport, where Landon served as superintendent for 17 years before retiring in 2016.

Colella was appointed as principal of Hindley School appointment effective July 1, 2016.

Colella was a fifth grade teacher for 10 years, a sixth grade science teacher for five years and has served as the assistant principal at the Somers Middle School in Somers, N.Y., since 2010 before coming to Darien.

Landon closed the letter by telling the school community he will “update you on Mr. Colella’s status as more information becomes available.”