NAUGATUCK —The Naugatuck public school system has a new superintendent.
Sharon Locke, 46, of Durham, was hired as the next superintendent Wednesday night during a special Board of Education meeting.
“We’ve worked very hard and, as I think we all know, this is the single most important vote we’ll all take and the single most important effort we have undertaken as a board,” Board of Education Chairman David Heller said. “I think this decision today will have a positive impact not only on our administrative leadership … but I think this decision we are making tonight will have an impact on the lives of thousands of students here in Naugatuck.”
Locke is expected to start on July 1, the beginning of the district’s fiscal year.
Locke said she was thrilled to have been chosen. If she had the chance, Locke said, she would begin the job right away.
“It’s a position that I take very seriously. I know that we have a lot of work to do and the only way it’s going to get done is if we lock arms and do it together,” Locke said.
Locke was hired to replace former Superintendent John Tindall-Gibson, who unexpectedly tendered his resignation in September. Since his resignation interim Superintendent James Connelly has been heading the district.
Locke is currently the chief academic officer, or assistant superintendent, with the New Britain school system, a position she has held since 2012. Prior to that, she was director of district improvement for grades K-5 for two years, and from 2008-10 she was district test coordinator. She also served as principal of Mark Twain Elementary School in Iowa City, Iowa, in 2007-08, and as vice principal at New Britain High School from 2006-07.
She started her career as a guidance counselor, and worked in that role for several years before going into administration.
Per a contract she signed with the borough, Locke will be paid $162,000 a year over the next three years. She will start on July 1 and lead a district with nine public schools and about 4,500 students.
On top of salary, Locke will receive a 5 percent tax-sheltered annuity, 15 sick days, four weeks vacation, a $2,400 travel stipend and will contribute the same amount to her insurance as other administrators in the district, per their contract with the borough.
Locke had a chance to tour the district’s schools on April 23. She said one of the reasons she chose to accept this position was the high expectations and compassion for the students demonstrated by the staff.
Locke said she also saw the need for the schools to become more consistent within the district.
When she takes office one of the first things she will work on is a strategic plan, Locke said.
“We need to get a strategic plan in place here where all the stakeholders are part of building it,” Locke said.
Until then Locke said she expects to spend time learning more about the district and preparing to step into her role as July 1 approaches.
“We are going to do great things together, I’m confident about that,” Locke told the Board of Education.
The Republican-American contributed to this article.