NAUGATUCK — The Board of Education didn’t have to look far to find the next superintendent for Naugatuck Public Schools.
The board Thursday unanimously appointed Assistant Superintendent of Schools Christopher Montini to be the next superintendent. Montini will take over as school chief July 1, after Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke’s contract ends June 30.
“It’s an honor; it’s a privilege to be able to lead this district. There’s an amazing faculty and staff,” Montini said after the board meeting. “I would like to continue to collaborate with the board, the borough and with families to create the conditions where all students are going to excel, thrive and be successful. I love this community.”
Montini is a Naugatuck native and graduated from Naugatuck High School in 1993. Montini attended Southern Connecticut State University, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and elementary education, a master’s degree in elementary education, and a sixth-year degree in educational leadership.
Montini taught at Curiale School in Bridgeport for one year before coming to Naugatuck to teach fourth, fifth and sixth grades.
Montini worked his way up the ranks in the borough. He served as assistant principal at Hop Brook Elementary School for one year before taking the principal job at Cross Street Intermediate School. In 2013, the board hired him as assistant superintendent.
“Chris has worked side by side with Superintendent Locke over the last five and a half years in leading the district as assistant superintendent. The board is confident that under Chris’ leadership as superintendent the district will continue to improve in educational growth,” school board Chairman Jeff Litke said in a statement.
“Chris has the experience of growing up in Naugatuck and attending Naugatuck Public Schools. … He understands our district and will work as hard as he can to make our district the best in the state,” Litke added.
Montini’s appointment came a month after Locke announced that she won’t seek to renew her contract with the district. Locke took over as superintendent in 2014. The board has credited her with making improvements in the district during a time when the percentage of students in Naugatuck considered to be from low-income families increased.
In a subsequent interview, Litke said the board didn’t conduct a search for a new superintendent and felt one wasn’t necessary due to the Montini’s experience in the district.
“Part of our process was reaching out to our assistant superintendent because many of the board members have worked with him for many years,” Litke said. “We all support him.”
Litke said the board is working to finish a contract with Montini. He expects the contract will be signed by the board’s next meeting in February.
Elio Gugliotti contributed to this report.