Dr. Donna Dunar Appointed Willow Dale Principal
Principal for Leary Elementary from 2006-2010, Dr. Dunar spent the last year as director of elementary education for Centennial School District.
On a Wednesday night when students, parents, alumni, former and current teachers gathered to say good-bye to Leary Elementary, sounds of joy began to erupt as news quickly traveled that Dr. Donna Dunar had been named principal of the new Willow Dale school.
"We are taking the heart of Leary to the new school," said Veronica Connelly. "It's sad to see Leary closing its doors, but this makes everything much easier to take."
Dr. Dunar previously served as Leary's principal from 2006-2010 and is credited with pushing the school to achieve recognition as a No Place for Hate, an award handed out each year by the Anti-Defamation League to schools that show exemplary efforts to reduce bullying and intolerance.
"Ask any parent that was here when she arrived," said Connelly, "and they'll tell you that the whole environment changed."
For the past year, Dr. Dunar has served as director of elementary education for Centennial School District. No announcement has been made about who would replace her. Dr. Dunar expressed pride at the work she accomplished for the district, but happily excepted the new position, which is effective July 1.
"Tomorrow, I'm going to start packing up my office and start thinking about how to make Willow Dale feel like a real community," said Dr. Dunar. "I will be spending the summer familiarizing myself with the calendars and schedules, getting to know all of the Willow Dale teachers and looking at yearbooks and photos to learn the names and faces of all the kids."
Michael Donnelly, current acting principal for both Leary and Willow Dale, will become assistant principal at Willow Dale. Denise Wettstein, who served as principal of Willow Dale for 10 years until taking a leave of absence in May, has resigned.