Dana Paredes Recognized as Assistant Principal of the Year

Assistant principal Dana Paredes has recently been named the Assistant Principal of the Year. The award was given to Mrs. Paredes by the Connecticut Association of Schools.

“I was thrilled when I got the news, especially because Mrs. Gardner really wanted me to receive this award. I wish she could have seen it” Mrs. Paredes said.

Mrs. Paredes is a West Haven High School alumni, who returned to teach English and would later become the assistant principal of the school. Throughout the past 15 months, Mrs. Paredes stepped up to the plate when Pamela Gardner was fighting her illness. She took on the role of two people at once, yet still remained calm under pressure. Tragically, Mrs. Gardner passed away on October 25th, 2018, which left Mrs. Paredes as the acting principal.

Mrs. Paredes is a remarkable woman and has a positive relationship with many students.

“She gave me a card congratulating me for a great show after my performance in the school play,” said senior Wilson Valois. “She is always supporting us and coming to every show and it means so much to not only me, but everyone else as well. She’s the best.”

Kids don’t just go to her office when they’re in trouble. Her office is a safe place for many where she makes them feel important, welcomed, and listened to.

“I first met Mrs. Paredes when I was 10 years old, winning the very first ‘Little Miss Westie’ pageant,” said Liana Suarez, Mrs. Paredes’ senior work study. “To now be by her side as assistant director of the pageant, we are close and get each other really well. Everyone knows I’m always in her office. I always get the comment ‘Are you ever in class?’”

Suarez also added that she thoroughly believed Mrs. Paredes deserved the award because she “puts her students first and always takes the extra step to help and be there for her students.”

Because of her significance to the school, several students and teachers set up a poster in the cafeteria congratulating her on the award. Students were free to leave notes on the poster for Mrs. Parades to see. The faculty also joined together to purchase a congratulatory gift.

In regards to the poster made in dedication to her Mrs. Paredes said, “I cried when I saw it, and I’m not a crier! Reading all those kind thoughts really made my year.”