Branford High School Principal
Lee Panagoulias, Jr. has worked for Branford Public Schools for over 25 years. He began his career in 1994 as a Science teacher at Walsh Intermediate School and then moved to Branford High School, where he also served as Science Department Leader. In 2005, Mr. Panagoulias became an assistant principal and continued in that role for three years until his promotion to principal in 2008. Mr. Panagoulias grew up in North Branford, CT and attended North Branford public schools. He attended Providence College in Rhode Island, where he earned an undergraduate degree in Business Administration. He also holds an undergraduate degree in Biology Secondary Education; a Master of Science degree in Biology; and a Sixth-Year degree in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University. In Mr. Panagoulias’ view, students, school faculty and staff, parents, and the community all participate in creating and supporting a safe, secure, and inclusive school environment where all students are engaged in their learning. During his free time, Mr. Panagoulias enjoys running, binge-watching a good show, and spending time with his wife, Julie, and their children, Madisen and Ben.
Branford High School Assistant Principal
Joe joined Branford Public Schools as an assistant principal at the high school in 2008, following twelve years of service in the Stratford Public Schools. His career began at Bunnell High School, where he taught science before being named assistant principal. Mr. Briganti grew up in Clifton, New Jersey. He received his undergraduate and master’s degree from Quinnipiac University. Joe earned his sixth-year degree in educational administration from Southern Connecticut State University. Mr. Briganti views a collaborative and positive school environment as the key to creating successful teachers and students. He believes partnerships with parents and community are essential to enriching the experience at Branford High School. During his free time, Mr. Briganti enjoys being outdoors and spending time with his family.
Branford High School Assistant Principal
Stephanie joined Branford High School as Assistant Principal in 2016, following eleven years of service as a language arts teacher, department leader, and dean of students within the North Branford Public Schools. Her career began in 2003 in Waterbury, CT, where she taught seventh-grade language arts and reading. Ms. Byrd grew up in North Branford and graduated from the North Branford Public Schools. She attended Quinnipiac University where she received her B.A. in English, her M.A. in secondary education, and her sixth-year degree in educational leadership. She also had the amazing opportunity to study abroad at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. Ms. Byrd views a strong foundation in literacy as a powerful tool. By teaching students the value of literacy, we are strengthening their capacity to effectively communicate with information in a variety of ways. In her spare time, Ms. Byrd enjoys spending time with her son, Jeremiah, volunteering for a nonprofit organization, reading, and traveling.
Branford High School Dean of Students
Dianne joined the Branford Public Schools in 1994 as a special education teacher at Francis Walsh Intermediate School following twelve years of service at Yale Psychiatric Institute’s Cedarhurst School. She taught at Walsh for fifteen years and was able to bring her experiences from a therapeutic environment to public school education, working hard to reach the whole child. She also was a peer mediation advisor and incorporated Project Adventure initiatives into the classroom experience. In 2009, Dianne joined Branford High School as Dean of Students, where she continues to support quality education. In her role as the safe school climate coordinator, she works to ensure the safety and security of students, promoting a positive school climate, personal responsibility, and restorative practices. She values the opportunity to build strong relationships with students, teachers, and parents to partner together for educational success. In 2017, she was inducted into Branford’s Education Hall of Fame. Dianne grew up in Madison and graduated from DHHS. She attended Providence College and the University of Connecticut, earning her B.S. degree in special education. Her M.A. in agency counseling and sixth-year degree in educational leadership were completed at Southern Connecticut State University. She is the proud mother of her two sons Austin and Casey, both BHS graduates.