Lusby, MD  The 2015 – 2016 school year has officially started in Calvert County. Tuesday, Aug. 25 was the first day of classes at the system’s kindergarten through 12th grade students.

Four county public schools—Dowell Elementary School (DES), Northern Middle School (NMS), Southern Middle School (SMS) and Patuxent High School (PHS)—have new principals.

During the 7 a.m. hour, PHS students began arriving by cars and buses, taking that long walk from the leisurely days of summer vacation into the school building and the start of the 10-month academic grind.

Calvert County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Daniel Curry was there to greet the arrivals. Also greeting students was PHS’ new principal, Sabrina Bergen. Last year Bergen was a vice-principal at Huntingtown High School. At the end of the school year she was initially named as the new principal at SMS. However, the sudden resignation of PHS Principal Mike Watson prompted Curry to assign Bergen the top job at Patuxent High.

“We’re happy to be here,” said a smiling Bergen, who added “flexibility” was a good trait to have in the education field. After aiding a new student who wasn’t quite sure where he was going, Bergen returned to the building and officially got her tenure at PHS underway.

Curry, who told The BayNet he planned to visit “six or eight schools” on opening day, eventually left to pay a visit to DES. That school also has a new principal, Jessica Reynolds.

The two other new principals are Jaime Webster at NMS and Mandy Blackman at SMS.

While the new school year’s latest enrollment figures won’t be available for a while, it appears Calvert is again likely to experience another substantial drop in its student population. Data available over the summer indicated the decline could be approximately 1,200 students.

Due to budget constraints, Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS) will also have less staff this school year. During the August meeting of the Calvert County Board of Education Curry announced that not all teaching positions had been filled for the new school year.

For more information on CCPS, visit www.calvertnet.k12.md.us

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

Photos of opening day at DES by The BayNet Photojournalist Ron Bailey

Photos of opening day at PHS by The BayNet News Editor Marty Madden