Anne Stuhlman will be starting the 2013-14 school year in a different school district.

Stuhlman, who resigned this month as Region 12's director of curriculum and instruction, will take the helm as principal at Hill and Plain School in New Milford.

In Region 12, she had championed early childhood education, helping to bring full-day kindergarten to the region.

At Hill and Plain elementary, while taking the place of Maryann Ness, she looks forward to working closely with the age group she most enjoys.

"How could you not love them?" Stuhlman asked about children in their first years in school. "They're eager to learn. They want to learn. They're capable of doing so much.

"They're not only receiving a foundation in learning," she said, "they're learning to interact with one another, how to interact in groups and to see themselves as lifelong learners."

Stuhlman is excited about coming to Hill and Plain. The teachers' reputation make her feel they are the right staff for young learners to be emulating, she said.

"Young children look to adults for how to act and interact so having good people on staff that understand that is key," Stuhlman said.

Dr. Pat Cosentino, Region 12's superintendent of schools, lauded Stuhlman for the role she played in that district.

"She has excellent content knowledge," said Cosentino, "and has spent countless hours working with staff reviewing the Region 12 curriculum and instructional practices" in preparation for the Common Core State Standards.

"Region 12 wishes her the best in her new position," she added.

Stuhlman worked in Region 12 for three years, previously having served as director of assessment and accountability for Naugatuck's public schools.

Prior to that she had been principal at Litchfield Intermediate School for seven years, after a tenure of five years as assistant principal and principal at a school in Texas.

"I'd finished my doctorate at Baylor University in Texas and was so tired of the heat and humidity," said the Missouri native. "I was looking for a place with seasons. They invited me to interview in Litchfield and I came in the third week of October. The beauty of the area won me over."

Her decision to seek employment in New Milford was based on three factors -- the size of the elementary schools; the diversity of student population and the high expectations of the administration, she said.

"I was looking at New Milford for a couple of years," Stuhlman said. "The schools are the right size, where a diversity of children interact through the school year. That's great for learning and developing socialization skills."

Dr. JeanAnn Paddyfote, New Milford's superintendent of schools, is "excited" to have Stulhman "joining the ranks of our administration."

"With her strong background in literacy and math instruction," Paddyfote said, "and her knowledge of the new teacher evaluation system, she will bring a strength to Hill and Plain and the New Milford school system as a whole."

Stuhlman will be moving to New Milford as well as working there, setting up a home for her daughter, Samantha, who is entering third grade, and their mini-schnauzer, Jack.; 860-355-7322