JT Foster Named Interim Principal at CTRA

JT Foster Named Interim Principal at CTRA
JT Foster

LEARN is pleased to announce that the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors has appointed JT Foster as the interim principal of the Connecticut River Academy (CTRA). He will begin his role on July 1 and will serve throughout the 2020-21 school year.

Foster, of North Haven, has been assistant principal at CTRA since 2015. LEARN, a Regional Educational Service Center (RESC), administers the magnet high school in cooperation with Goodwin University, with the University having ultimate oversight of their campus inter-district magnet school operations. CTRA is located on the university’s Riverside Campus and more than 80 percent of its students enroll in college classes.

As interim principal, Foster will lead a school with a growing academic profile and program. In 2019, Magnet Schools of America named CTRA a National Magnet School of Excellence. The school is dedicated to its theme of sustainability, offering state-of-the-art facilities in advanced manufacturing and environmental sciences. The school also features a diverse student population, enrolling learners of all backgrounds and abilities.

Foster said that as interim principal, his primary job will be preserving a learning environment where all students can thrive.

“I focus on equity by making sure that each scholar gets what they need to be successful,” Foster said. “We help students defeat the fear of failure by providing student support systems.”

Foster replaces Principal Tara Amatrudo, who accepted a position leading LEARN’s Marine Science Magnet High School in Groton. Additionally, CTRA added a Middle School Program beginning in the 2020-21 school year for grades 6-8, hiring Christina Zlatin of LEARN’s Dual Language & Arts Magnet Middle School in Waterford as director. Foster and Zlatin will work together, with Foster leading the high school.

LEARN Executive Director Kate Ericson said Foster has been a major part of CTRA’s success as the school’s assistant principal and that he is well prepared for this leadership position. Goodwin University President Mark Scheinberg agreed that Foster was the right choice for the school.

“We are excited to see JT assume this new role,” Scheinberg said. “His leadership knowledge at the high school level, coupled with his teaching experience at the university, will enable him to build even stronger educational pathways for CTRA students.”

Foster has spent most of his educational career with LEARN and Goodwin University. He was hired as an English teacher at CTRA in 2011 and was an adjunct professor at Goodwin in 2012. In 2014-15, he was named LEARN’s Teacher of Year.

Upon his promotion to assistant principal in 2015, Foster dedicated himself to establishing positive relationships with students and families, as well as implementing restorative behavior practices. Under his guidance, student suspensions were reduced by half in his first year and continued to decrease in each subsequent year. Additionally, he is deeply involved in communications between the school and families, establishing intervention plans, and supporting and training teachers.

Foster earned his Bachelor’s degree in English literature from Gordon College in Massachusetts. He earned a Master’s degree in education from the University of New Haven and his 6th year certificate in educational leadership from Sacred Heart University.

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