WESTFIELD — School administrators recently announced that Jill Phelan, principal of Highland Elementary School, has been named the principal of the new elementary school being built on Franklin Street.

Phelan will start her new job in July 2024 as principal of both Abner Gibbs and Franklin Avenue elementary schools, and then take over the new building when it opens — currently projected for January 2025. She and her assistant principal will spend time in both Abner Gibbs and Franklin Avenue before the schools close, getting to know all of the students, staff, and families before the move, according to Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski.

Erika Masciadrelli, currently the principal at Abner Gibbs, will become the new principal of Highland, replacing Phelan and taking on the challenge of working in a larger school environment. Chris Tolpa, the current principal at Franklin Avenue, will take a new job in the Curriculum Department at the district level, with a focus on instructional leadership and Title I programs.

All of these leadership changes will take place in the summer of 2024. Czaporowski said this spring, Phelan will visit Franklin Avenue and Abner Gibbs to meet students and staff, and Masciadrelli will do the same at Highland. There will also be a meet-and-greet with the principal at each school for parents over the summer.

While the new school does not yet have a name, families and classrooms from both Franklin Avenue and Abner Gibbs recently voted on four possible names for the school, which were forwarded to the central office for consideration: Whip City Elementary, Tower Elementary, Westfield River Elementary and Westwood Elementary.

Czaporowski said according to School Committee policy, he will take three names and forward them to the School Committee, which has the job of selecting the name for the new school.

Czaporowski said the construction of the new school is on schedule, with an expected opening in January 2025. More information about the construction, including a virtual walking tour, can be found at tinyurl.com/22c8fzyv.

amyporter@thewestfieldnews.com | + posts