Carmen Jorgenson Cheri Benafield
After two years as assistant principal, Carmen Jorgenson moved up to principal. Cheri Benafield became our assistant principal. Carmen had been a teacher and reading specialist in New Haven for many years. There wasn't much she didn't know about literacy. Cheri had been our reading specialist the previous year. This was Cheri's first year as an assistant principal, but she was ready, willing, and eager to learn. She had a great mentor in Carmen. Between the two of them, they knew everything about teaching kids to read. Since the strategic plan's focus was on literacy, we were in luck.
They complemented each other so well. They worked like a well oiled machine. Also, they agreed on disciplinary procedures. They always told it like it was, were totally honest with the staff, and always had our back. We knew from the beginning we could count on them. They shared everything with each other. Often they would come in together and work on weekends. They trusted and respected the staff to do what they needed to do to get the job done. Schools rarely get people at the top who are so totally in sync. It didn't take long for us to figure out we had hit the jackpot. Soon they became known as The Dream Team.