JACKSON – Geoff Brignola is the new principal of Jackson Liberty High School and only the second person in the school’s history to hold that position.
Maureen Butler retired on June 30 after serving as the first and only principal in the history of Jackson Liberty High School. Butler joined the Jackson School District in January 2006 and the high school, Jackson’s second, opened in September 2006 with freshman and sophomore classes.
Brignola was offered the promotion in May after serving as Jackson Liberty’s assistant principal for 11 years. He called everything that is happening right now “real exciting.”
“Pretty much being here since the beginning and helping to establish the culture with Mrs. Butler over all these years has been a wonderful experience and a great learning experience,” he said.
Brignola began his tenure as the high school’s assistant principal during the 2007-08 school year. Prior to arriving at Jackson Liberty, he worked at Red Bank Regional High School, Little Silver, for 13 years. He was a science teacher before being promoted to the position of supervisor of the math and science departments.
“I worked with (Butler) for 24 years. We both came (to Jackson) from Red Bank Regional, and I have known her for 30 years. Working under her and having her as my mentor has been a big help and she is the main reason why the culture has been established the way it has” at Jackson Liberty, Brignola said.
Brignola said being a part of establishing the school’s culture has been an honor and he said he cannot wait to continue to build upon what has already been accomplished.
“It was tough in the beginning. The first group (of students) we had came over as sophomores, so they did their freshman year at Jackson Memorial,” he said. “They did not want to be here and rightfully so. They started their high school career at one school and then were told they had to go to another school.”
Brignola credited Butler for being an “unbelievable motivator” and for being big on family values to help create the culture at a new school.
“We have done it, we have Lions now,” he said. “Getting over the whole Jackson Jaguar tradition, which is a rich tradition, 50-plus years worth of tradition, took some time, but we have our Lions now and we are ready to go.”
Brignola said he feels he is in the right position going into his first school year as the principal at Jackson Liberty.
“Of course there are nerves being in a little bit more of a leadership position, one step higher than assistant principal, but the relationships I have built over the last 11 years with the staff here and the kids and the parents, I think has really given me a good stepping stone to continue the traditions and to build upon them,” Brignola said.