Public profiles ideal school chief

Tuttle-Building

NAUGATUCK — The community is seeking a superintendent of schools who has strong enough communication skills to articulate the need to improve education and the skills to make it happen.

Those are among the many attributes Naugatuck citizens, educators and community leaders are looking for in a new school chief, according to a 27-page “successful candidate profile” drafted by the New England School Development Council.

Naugatuck is looking to replace former Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson, who retired abruptly at the beginning of the school year after seven years with the district. Since September, former Bridgeport Superintendent of Schools James Connelly has been serving as an interim school chief until the board finds a replacement. Connelly will not be a candidate for the full-time job.

The Board of Education is accepting applications for the top educational job until the end of the month. Starting in March, the board hopes to sit down with candidates and start the interview process, board Chairman David Heller said. He said the board will have someone in place by July 1, but hopes a superintendent will be hired well before then.

To complete its report, the school development council asked residents, parents, borough officials, school employees, school board members and others what qualities they’d like to see in a new superintendent of schools. The most common answer in the report is good communication skills.

Tindall-Gibson, who served from 2006 to 2013, was often criticized for not being able to effectively communicate with the public, though he knew a lot about education and curriculum.

People are also seeking someone who can build trust in the superintendent’s office within the community, create a sense of teamwork within the district, is calm and has integrity, among other positive attributes. They also do not want someone who has jumped around from job to job.

The report indicates people want someone who “is child — not business — centered” and “won’t lose touch with the fact that we’re teaching children.” And they want someone who “has a desire to educate the whole child, which includes providing opportunities and programs in the arts, music, physical education, the trades” and works on behalf of all students, whether they are “future entrepreneurs or non-college bound.”

The school board realizes it may not find a candidate who fits all of the criteria set forth in the report, but they hope to use the findings as a guide when conducting interviews.

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