Over the last decade, the building on Columbus Avenue formerly known as Easton Junior High School has been a place where change is common.
Walls have been knocked down and reconstructed, temporary trailers have come and gone, grade levels have changed, and faculty and staff members have transitioned from a Junior High School to a Middle School curriculum and mindset.
One constant, though, has been the principal.
John Giuggio, who took over as Easton Junior High School Principal in 2002, has bared witness and facilitated more change to his school than most administrators could comprehend.
Beginning next year, though, the school will be with a new leader for the first time in over a decade.
Giuggio announced his retirement earlier this year after 10 1/2 years in the Easton Public School system and over 40 years as an educator. Current Assistant Principal Luke Carroll will take over as the interim principal.
"I’ve been here for so long," Giuggio said. "While I still enjoy it, and while I still have plenty of energy, I felt it was time for a change. It’s good to leave something while you’re still very positive about it and while you still know what you’re doing."
Giuggio said he thinks he'll leave the school a better place than when he came to Easton as a grades 7-9 principal.
Since then, the school has transitioned from a Junior High School to a Middle School, which moved grade 9 to and grade 6 to the Middle School.
"It was a challenge to assimilate all these different teachers and change the approach," he said. "When we were a junior high school we were two schools in one. We were a 7th and 8th grade that had a middle school philosophy and a 9th grade that was operated almost independently as a high school-like grade. Part of the transition was getting grades 6-8 on the same schedule, aligning the curriculum so that it worked – those were some of the big changes."
The school also underwent major renovations four years ago, which has kept faculty, staff and students in constant transition. Since taking over, Giuggio's office has been in three separate locations.
The presence of construction crews made for a unique predicament.
"There would be two communities of people existing in the same space," Giuggio said. "You would have the educational community and you would have the instructional community. There would be workers, trucks and heavy equipment. It was a major challenge to keep general things going like the day to day class changing – the timing of things – making sure the work being done during the day was not distracting to the educational process. As the building principal, you just had to make sure that everything worked as normal despite the disruption that you had on a day to day basis."
Giuggio came to Easton in search for the next step in his career.
The Jamaica Plain native received his bachelor's degree from Boston College and his master's degree from New York University. He served for 30 years in the Randolph School System, working as an English teacher, house master and vice principal while also earning a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Administration for Educational Leadership from Bridgewater State College.
An opening in Easton presented an opportunity.
"I love teaching, but I came to a point in my career where I felt like I needed a change," he said. "I really wanted to look at education from a different perspective and have more say in certain things."
Since coming to Easton, Giuggio, who currently lives in Brockton said he has been able to assimilate with the Easton community.
Parents, students and teachers have been a pleasure to work with, he said.
As principal, he had the opportunity to hire many of the teachers at the school throughout his tenure.
"It’s a really nice community," he said. "It’s always been very supportive, as have parents, students and teachers. I’m really proud of the faculty here. They’re very hard working and very good."
He hopes that his legacy will be leaving the school a better place than when he took over 10 years ago.
"I feel we offer a very solid curriculum," he said. "I feel that we have a very positive and caring school climate and I think we have created an environment that is very positive for middle school kids in terms of their education and in terms of their emotional development and growth."
The environment, he said, is something that will continue with Luke Carroll as principal. Giuggio is confident that transition to a new interim will be seamless.
Meanwhile, after over 40 years as a full-time educator, Giuggio hopes to spend more time with his family in retirement. He also teaches graduate courses in school administration through Fitchburg University.
For Giuggio, leaving will be like leaving home.
"I would like to thank the parents of Easton for their support over the years," he said. "I am going to really miss the kids here, and I’m going to miss the faculty on both a professional and personal basis. They’re kind of like family in many ways."