Board has interim superintendent lined up

James Connelly, a former Bridgeport superintendent who has served as interim superintendent in Oxford and Region 16, should start soon as interim superintendent in the borough, according to members of the Board of Education. The board voted Thursday to negotiate a contract with Connelly. –RA ARCHIVE

James Connelly, a former Bridgeport superintendent who has served as interim superintendent in Oxford and Region 16, should start soon as interim superintendent in the borough, according to members of the Board of Education. The board voted Thursday to negotiate a contract with Connelly. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — The Board of Education decided Thursday to begin negotiating an interim superintendent contract with James Connelly, a former longtime superintendent of Bridgeport schools.

Connelly has also served as interim superintendent in six districts, including Oxford and Region 16. He works part-time as a senior staff associate for executive search planning and management for the New England School Development Council.

“I enjoy the interim positions,” said Connelly, 72, of Shelton. “It keeps me familiar with the issues.”

Human Resources Director John Lawlor will negotiate a contract with Connelly, which should be approved at a special meeting next week, said Dorothy Neth-Kunin, vice chairwoman of the school board. Assistant Superintendent of Schools Christopher Montini will act as superintendent until Connelly starts, school board members said.

The board will begin searching for a permanent replacement for Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson, who retired Thursday, after the November elections. Connelly said he will stay until the permanent superintendent starts, which should be sometime in the spring.

Connelly was chosen based on his experience acting as superintendent in every kind of school district, from Bridgeport to tiny Woodbridge, Montini said.

“You name it, he’s done it,” Montini said.

Thursday was Tindall-Gibson’s last day as superintendent, a post he held for seven years. He submitted his retirement letter a month ago, saying he wanted to pursue his hobbies and other opportunities in the field of education.

He said Thursday he will start next week as a part-time staff associate for operations at the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, based in West Hartford. Tindall-Gibson had served as president of the group for a year before his term expired in June. He said he will make $55,000 per year in his new job.

Tindall-Gibson said his knowledge of the opportunity was one of many factors that prompted him to retire early from the borough. He was superintendent of schools in Litchfield, where he lives, for six years before being hired in the borough, where he made $165,000 annually. He will get a pension from the state based on 13 years of being a superintendent.

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