NAUGATUCK — A lifetime of learning begins with a single moment of wonder.
That is the quote, from an unknown author, that Giocomina “Jackie” Bacon used on her application for the administrative position of early childhood education coordinator in Naugatuck Public Schools. That philosophy, which includes using childhood curiosity to help guide education, is part of the reason Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke chose Bacon for the position, a decision that was unanimously backed by the Board of Education on May 12.
“That quote best captures her spirit,” Locke said. “Her references lauded her ability to build a community with a common purpose. They also referred to her as a relentless advocate for children.”
Bacon, 60, is a Naugatuck resident who used to teach music and preschool at Naugatuck public schools. She was also a principal at Brooklyn Elementary School in Waterbury between 2003 and 2006 and later served as a principal in Danbury and, most recently, East Haven.
She will make a salary of $106,340 per year in the new position in Naugatuck, according to the Naugatuck budget.
The job, which was vacated by Janice Mons’ retirement at the beginning of the school year, entails overseeing the School Readiness and Head Start pre-school programs at Central Avenue Preschool, also known as the Naugatuck Early Childhood Center.
The school, which currently has 148 children, will undergo a transition this year.
Traditionally, pupils in the federally-funded Head Start program for income eligible families were in different classrooms than those in the School Readiness program, which receives state funding and is for children in higher income brackets. Children whose families pay the full amount are also in the School Readiness Program. And pupils in special education programs are in their own classrooms.
Next year, income eligibility will not determine what classrooms the pupils are in, Locke said.
Bacon will also be responsible for program management, instructional improvement efforts, supervision and evaluation of staff, student management, community relations and opening and maintaining effective lines of communication within the school and among the school, home and community, according to the job description.
“I believe we are lucky to have found Mrs. Bacon, as she seems to match the profile that was created by the Central Avenue community,” Locke said.
She also said she liked that Bacon has experience overseeing major changes in other schools. For example, in East Haven, she was tasked with unifying staff from two recently restructured schools and was effective, Locke said.
At last week’s Board of Education meeting, Bacon saw a lot of familiar faces from her previous work in Naugatuck and most of the current Central Avenue staff who went to support her.
“I feel like I’m coming home,” she said.