New Early Childhood Director hired for Cushman School

May 18, 2020

The new Early Childhood Director for Cushman School has been named as Dr. Justine Dale, current principal at East Falmouth Elementary.

Dale was introduced at a remote School Committee meeting on May 18. She will be taking over for current Cushman director Melissa McHenry, who will become Assistant Principal at Potter School after Potter Principal Heidi Brooks retires and current Assistant Principal Rich Porter takes her place. 

Early childhood education is one of my passions,” said Dale at the meeting. “I’ve always said to myself and to my colleagues, ‘You know, if we could only get to the families earlier...’ — and this opportunity will give me the chance to do that.”

“Currently I’ve been working remotely with some of the staff at Dartmouth and I can already feel that there’s a connection there,” she added. “This is an interesting situation. I’m very lucky to be taking on a position where I haven’t been in the school yet, I haven’t met anybody face to face yet, except through Zoom, and to feel the way I feel already — I’m just really excited about it.”

“Welcome to Dartmouth, we are very happy to have you,” said School Committee vice chair Chris Oliver. “We’re all very proud of the Dartmouth public school system. We all look forward to you coming on board and bringing your expertise.”

Other School Committee members welcomed Dale to the community and wished her the best. 

“I’m sure you’re going to create a great and positive environment for those kids,” said committee member Dr. Shannon Jenkins.

“What a challenge you have right now,” added committee chair Kathleen Amaral. “You’re living it!”

Dale will officially start her duties on July 1.

At the same meeting the School Committee also awarded two students, Dartmouth High seniors Sabrina Pires and Victor Goncalves, with a Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Certificate of Academic Excellence.

Each student will also receive a $1,000 scholarship through the Gill Family charitable trust, named for Assistant Principal Richard Gill’s father.

Goncalves is the vice president for the class of 2020. Currently at the top of the class, he became a U.S. citizen last year and will be attending Harvard University on a full scholarship in the fall.

Pires is class secretary and will be studying neuroscience at Emmanuel College next year.

“I’m very honored, and it’s an experience that I will never forget,” said Goncalves, a New Bedford resident who came to school in Dartmouth through the school choice program. “It’s been such a pleasure to go to Dartmouth High.” 

“I don’t really know how I’m supposed to follow that,” said Pires with a laugh. “Just being in a class with such amazing and educated people, it’s such an honor.”

The School Committee also reorganized its officers at the meeting. Chris Oliver became the new committee chair, while Dr. Jenkins became the vice chair.