Bedford Middle School will welcome a new principal on July 1, after the Board of Education on Monday approved the appointment of Adam Rosen, an assistant principal at East Ridge Middle School in Ridgefield.

Rosen will succeed Bedford's current principal, Melissa Kay, who is leaving to become the principal of an American-curriculum elementary school outside of Rome in Italy. Kay served as Bedford's principal for two years. Before her stint at Bedford, she served four years as the principal at Coleytown Elementary School.

"This is a district that values arts and education, that asks deep, challenging questions of kids and of life," Rosen said. "This is an incredible community and a wonderful opportunity for me. I look forward to joining the educational team at Bedford. This is very exciting for me; I'm thrilled."

Rosen has served as principal of East Ridge since 2007. From 1999 to 2007, he worked as a science teacher and served as the chairman of the science department at East Ridge. He previously worked as a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History Marine Systems Laboratory in Washington, D.C. He is also a former Distinguished daVinci Fellow and GE Teaching Fund Fellow at the University of Connecticut and the recipient of a Toshiba America Foundation grant for the construction of a classroom-based coral reef ecosystem.

Rosen holds a doctorate in education from Southern Connecticut State University, a master of arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va.

Education officials did not announce Monday the terms of Rosen's compensation. Kay was the sixth highest-paid public employee in Westport last year with compensation of about $157,000.

"The real test of Dr. Rosen is spending a few minutes with him," said Board of Education Chairman Don O'Day. "I am absolutely confident that you'll be impressed as we were. I think Bedford is extremely fortunate to have such a talented individual leading the school, and I think we'll have Dr. Rosen around for a long time."; 203-255-4561, ext. 118;