's new assistant principal, John Bean, is already a huge Tolland fan.
"I've heard this is a great community in Tolland and a great school," Bean said, who previously has worked in South Windsor as a special education teacher and a social studies teacher for a combined 15 years.
In an introductory interview with Tolland Patch, he said that his initial impressions of Tolland as a giving and community-focused town have been cemented, especially after attending the charity and fundraising , put together by the Tolland Elementary PTO this past Saturday.
"I thought it was so special to be there supporting the PTO and watching people in Tolland do what they do during the Night of Giving," Bean said, whose own children stuffed animals for the Helen Gray Cancer Center. "I love that part of Tolland."
Besides a love of community service, Bean has devoted his life to elementary education. After graduating with a degree in history from the University of Connecticut, Bean said he realized that his true calling was in education. He earned his Masters in special education and was certified in public administration.
While he spent the first years of his education career at the middle school level, Bean said that his work in a special education summer program where he met elementary teacher coworkers persuaded him to try the younger grade levels.
"I ended up getting to know a group of elementary school teachers, and I loved the way learning was organized," Bean said. "It's different than the middle school level. There's a lot more group learning."
Bean said that he is looking forward to the challenges of his new position and to making an impact at TIS. Most of all, he said, he wants to teach empathy and warmth to the school's young students.
"To me warmth, generosity and sharing, these are all qualities that I think are so important for educators. The more you provide that as a role model for kids, the more it rubs off on them as an important skill to develop," Bean said.
And as he starts his first year at TIS, Bean said that he will work every day to teach Tolland's third- to fifth-graders about reading, arithmetic and some simple, but fundamental life lessons.
"People are all coming in at different levels and different experience," he said. "Just try to keep that in mind when you walk in the door every day."