Jeffrey Peterson, Principal

Mr. Peterson has served for the last four years as Superintendent of Smith Vocational and Agricultural School District in Northampton, MA. In that time, Smith Vocational saw significant improvements in graduation rates, student enrollment, and MCAS test scores. Prior to this he was an assistant principal at Chicopee Comprehensive High School. He brings a wealth of experience in administration, leadership, and turn around success. He is an expert in vocational education, and is tireless in his quest for excellence. Mr. Peterson has also volunteered his time to the Western Mass Hispanic Foundation and the Puerto Rican Office of Federal Affairs helping youth find success throughout the region. Mr. Peterson holds a B.S. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an M.A.Ed from Westfield State University. He is available to be contacted by calling (413) 534-2071 Ext. 1145 or by e-mailing  at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Margaret Gifford, Director of Career and Technical Education

I was born and raised in Holyoke and am a graduate of Holyoke High School. I received my B.S. from the University of Massachusetts where I studied Hotel and Restaurant Management, I received my MA.Ed from Westfield State University. I began my career in education as a culinary arts teacher at Putnam Vocational Technical High School, after 20 years in the restaurant and food service industry. I most recently worked at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School as the Vocational Director. I have served on the Franklin/Hampshire Youth Career Council, as a member of the Board of Directors for the Pioneer Valley American Culinary Federation Chapter, and as a food service instructor the the Department of Youth Services. I am the liason for the First Presbyterian Church in Granby and the Western Ma Food-bank. I am honored to have the opportunity to work in Holyoke where I have strong roots. Magaret can be reached by calling (413) 534-2071 or by e-mailing  at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Alan Gates, Director of Culture and Climate

Alan Gates is coming to us after spending this past year at Achievement First Hartford Elementary Academy as the Dean of School Culture. Alan and his team were able to bring suspension numbers down from 18% to 3%, attendance rates were 97%, students spent 50% more time in the classroom through a strong push in model and academic gains in ELA and Math showed a 13% increase YOY on the SBAC Test (comparable to PARCC in MA). Prior to his work at AFHEA, Alan was an Assistant Principal at Phillip Colburn Elementary School where Coburn had achieved a Level 1 status with over 50% of the students being ELL and 99% free and reduced lunch. Alan's experience prior to the elementary level was at West Springfield High School and PACE Alternative School. As a HS Teacher and Coach, Alan had been awarded the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching award and was the coach of a Western Mass Championship Wrestling program as well as Superbowl Champions. Alan is passionate about working with students and has been involved in developing outreach teams, summer programs and many other successful initiatives involving students and community partners. He is married and has two beautiful daughters, Zoe Alan Gates - 12 and Lili Gates 10 months. In his free time he enjoys cooking, fishing and working! He is available to be contacted by calling (413) 534-2071 or by e-mailing   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Sean Kiley, Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction

Mr. Kiley, a proud member of the turnaround effort for Holyoke Public Schools, is a veteran educator of 21 years who has served as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, and principal at the secondary-level throughout his career. He is a life-long learner with a commitment to teaching, scholarship, and providing learning environments for teachers and students that stress quality instruction, student engagement, experiential learning, and global perspectives. With a proven ability to lead institutional and operational planning with successful results, he has always had an interest in school leadership and education reform; his objectives in working with others during a school day are: being optimistic and strengths-based; helping to set and achieve short and long term goals; motivating through trying situations; applying current principles, practices, and research to foster positive outcomes; and focusing on success for all, whatever it takes. Mr. Kiley is also President/Co-Director of The Always Forward Project, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission to enhance educational opportunities and experiences for persons who, as high school students, participated earnestly and substantially in extracurricular activities, whether athletic, club-oriented, career-oriented, community oriented, or artistic. Mr. Kiley holds a B.S. and M.Ed from Springfield College and CAGS from Northeastern University. He is available to be contacted by calling (413) 534-2071 Ext. 1147 or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.






William J. Dean Technical High School
1045 Main Street
Holyoke, MA 01040