Superintendent search may end soon

NAUGATUCK — The borough’s next superintendent of schools may be hired as early as next month.

The Board of Education hopes to hire someone by its meeting April 10, said David Heller, board chairman.

“I’d love to say that we will definitely have someone hired by that date, but I can’t say that for sure right now,” he said. “That’s what we’re aiming for, though.”

Since September, the board has been in the process of finding a replacement for John Tindall-Gibson, who abruptly announced his retirement at an August board meeting after seven years in the district.

The board hired former Bridgeport Superintendent of Schools James Connelly on a per diem basis in September. He is paid $625 a day split between regular pay and an annuity.

Interim superintendents typically do not serve longer than six months.

The school board has received applications for the full-time job, and has started interviews. However, board members will not say how many candidates have applied, and will not name them. Typically, names are not released until they are finalists.

Heller referred all questions about the search process to borough and school Human Resource Director John Lawlor, who could not be reached Monday for comment.

Interim Superintendent Chris Montini, who was hired last year after serving as Cross Street School principal, said he did not apply for the superintendent job.

“I like the work that I’m doing now,” he said. “I’ve only been on the job a few months, and I look forward to the opportunity to contribute as an assistant.”

The borough recently completed a survey of teachers, administrators, school staff, elected officials and community members about what qualities they would like to see in a new school chief.

Several opinions were shared, with the ability to communicate effectively and being child centered — as opposed to business centered — among the top most common comments.

Several people also said they want someone who focuses not only on helping college-bound students, but all students.

A job description states that the borough wants to sign a multiyear contract with someone and to have “a compensation package that is regionally competitive.”

Tindall-Gibson was paid $165,000 a year. The board has not said how much it will set aside for the new school chief.

The job description states: “The Naugatuck Board of Education is seeking an experienced and proven educational leader to serve as superintendent of schools. The board is looking not only for a high level of education expertise, but for someone with the skills and ambition to lead a team of high quality professionals and make a positive and lasting difference in the district. This is a demanding position that will require a dedicated, hardworking leader of the highest quality. The new superintendent will be a ‘hands-on’ administrator who will be involved in all aspects of the educational and community life of Naugatuck.”

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