Julie Droller was named the new principal of Hindley Elementary School at a special Board of Education meeting on Monday, April 29. Droller has served as Hindley’s interim principal since the previous principal, DJ Colella, was put on leave shortly before the school year. Colella later resigned at the end of September.
Droller previously served as an elementary school teacher in Ridgefield at its Scotland School. She first came to Darien in 2004 and spent two years in the district as the K-5 language arts specialist before moving back to Ridgefield to serve as the principal of Veteran’s Park Elementary School in 2006. In 2011, Droller moved to Westport and served as the principal of Saugatuck Elementary School for three years before being appointed as director of elementary education in 2014, a position in which she served until assuming the role of Hindley’s interim principal. Droller implemented a balanced literacy approach at the elementary level and a new social emotional curriculum, grades pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. During her most recent time here in Darien, the district said Droller “has served as an articulate and passionate advocate for the addition of a second psychologist in each of our elementary schools.”
Droller said one of her goals in this permanent position will be to “strengthen the home/school partnership by bringing parents into the school to provide a deeper understanding of our practices — what they look like and the reasons behind our approach.” Droller also said that she “looks forward to working with teachers and staff to maintain the pride that everyone feels about being part of this wonderful school community.”
Colella was placed on leave pending an investigation into “certain concerns” about the learning and professional environment at the school, according to an Aug. 10 letter to him from Interim Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon. He resigned in late September, citing an interest in working closer to his home in New York.
Colella was appointed as principal of Hindley School effective July 1, 2016. He replaced long-time Hindley principal Rita Ferri, under whose tenure Hindley was named a Blue Ribbon School.