Bernadette Coelho to continue as acting Headmaster of New Bedford high school

Acting Headmaster Bernadette Coelho will continue in that role at New Bedford High School through the end of the school year.

Dr. Pia Durkin, Superintendent of New Bedford Public Schools, named the longtime New Bedford High School administrator Bernadette Coelho as acting school Headmaster at the beginning of the month.

Superintendent Durkin received the resignation of Kathleen Dawson, former headmaster, on Friday, January 30.

Ms. Coelho has served at New Bedford High for the past nine years, most recently as the Registration and Pathways Administrator. In that role, she serves as head of all guidance counselors, school adjustment counselors, attendance officers and graduation facilitators. Before that, Ms. Coelho was the lead graduation facilitator and dropout prevention specialist at NBHS.

“New Bedford High School can’t miss a beat and Ms. Coelho has the confidence of the school staff to continue as acting Headmaster,” said Superintendent Durkin. “As the graduation rate at New Bedford High continues to improve, much of that progress is owed to building and maintaining relationships among staff and students, which Ms. Coelho has exemplified for the past nine years.”

Ms. Coelho holds a Master’s degree (M.Ed.) in Educational Leadership from American International College in Springfield. She also earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Before her career in education, Ms. Coelho served as a public relations director and a news reporter.

“I look forward to continuing this important work, collaborating with staff, families and the community to provide our students with the best education possible,” said Ms. Coelho.
In addition to holding the state license for principal and assistant principal, Ms. Coelho has undergone training by the National Institute for School Leadership and the Massachusetts Educator Evaluation System.

The position of Headmaster will be posted and the routine application process will be followed to select the next Headmaster, who will begin effective July 1, 2015.

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