Franklin County Technical School   82 Industrial Blvd.   Turners Falls, MA 413 . 863 . 9561

FCTS Profile: Shawn Rickan   |   Principal

Shawn Rickan Begins First Year as Franklin County Tech Principal/Assistant Superintendent

Shawn Rickan

New Franklin County Technical School Principal and Assistant Superintendent Shawn Rickan looked relaxed in his office on the Friday before his first year at the school was about to begin.

Despite being dressed casually in a sport shirt and shorts, Rickan has been working hard to prepare for the opening of school since taking over the dual position on July 1.

“The bulk of our summer work has been focused on updating the Student/Parent Handbook, getting to know each other, reviewing the policies and procedures of the school and planning for the future of Franklin County Technical School,” he said.

"The vocational programs provide a hands-on opportunity for the kids. That was the part that piqued my interest."

Franklin County Technical School seniors and freshmen reported for their first day of school on Tuesday, September 1 and all students began the school year the following day.

Rickan, a native of Athol and 1987 graduate of Athol High School, was named tech school principal in March. He succeeds Richard J. Martin, who is now Franklin County Technical School superintendent. Martin took over the post following the retirement of James Laverty this summer.

The son of Marlou Rickan, who works at L.S. Starrett Company in Athol, Rickan, 46, played basketball, volleyball, and ran track at Athol High School. He was a standout basketball player, serving as the team’s captain, and was named Western Massachusetts All-Star for three years.

Besides his mother, Rickan has a brother Chad Berry. He and wife Sherry Rickan live in Phillipston with their sons Jakob, 14, and Jameson, 10. Rickan is also a licensed and practicing real estate agent with Burbank Real Estate in Athol.

Following high school, Rickan went to Bridgewater State College and earned his bachelor’s degree in athletic training and sports medicine in 1992. He went on to earn his teacher’s certification at Westfield State College in 1994 and master’s degree in education leadership and management from Fitchburg State College in 2000.

"I also want to be a support system for teachers, students and community members who send their kids to school here."

Rickan said he became interested in pursuing a career in education while working at Lake Grove at Maple Valley School in Wendell from 1992-1994, his first job after graduating from Bridgewater State College.

“I started working at a residential facility and found that I loved working with the kids,” he said of Lake Grove. “That’s why I went to college to get my certification to teach. I was also very much influenced by my teachers at Athol High School. They were excellent.”

Besides Lake Grove, Rickan also taught at West Boylston Middle High School from 1995-1996 and Quabbin Regional High School from 1996-2000. He served as assistant principal and athletic director at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange from 2000-2005.

Before coming to FCTS, Rickan was assistant principal and principal at Narragansett Regional High School in Baldwinville from 2005-2015.

When considering accepting his new position, Rickan said he was attracted to Franklin County Technical School’s strong vocational programs.

“I started working at a residential facility and found that I loved working with the kids,” he said of Lake Grove. “That’s why I went to college to get my certification to teach. I was also very much influenced by my teachers at Athol High School. They were excellent.”

Besides Lake Grove, Rickan also taught at West Boylston Middle High School from 1995-1996 and Quabbin Regional High School from 1996-2000. He served as assistant principal and athletic director at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange from 2000-2005.

"The vocational programs provide a hands-on opportunity for the kids. That was the part that piqued my interest. The academic piece gives us the best of both worlds."

Before coming to FCTS, Rickan was assistant principal and principal at Narragansett Regional High School in Baldwinville from 2005-2015. When considering accepting his new position, Rickan said he was attracted to Franklin County Technical School’s strong vocational programs.

“I’ve never been exposed to anything like that,” he said. “The vocational programs provide a hands-on opportunity for the kids. That was the part that piqued my interest. The academic piece gives us the best of both worlds.”

Rickan’s immediate priorities for his first year at FCTS are “building a strong team and working hard to provide the best possible overall programs for our students.”

Looking forward, Rickan said he wants to develop solid policies and procedures in order to run the school more efficiently.

“I also want to be a support system for teachers, students and community members who send their kids to school here,” he said. “I want us to provide a consistent quality education with a balance between the vocational and academic sides.”

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