By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck Public Schools and the borough have their first diversity, equity and inclusion director.
The Board of Education has hired Theresa Rangel for the job, which was created earlier this year by the board.
Rangel, 42, of Naugatuck, said she was attracted to the position due to the borough’s commitment to create a place to live, learn and do business that values all residents.
“I feel this is a unique way to channel my skills as an educator, a community collaborator, and a resident into something good that will enrich the lives of our whole community,” Rangel said.
Rangel’s first day in Naugatuck was still to be determined last week, as she transitioned from her job as principal of Tracey Magnet School in Norwalk. She’s been principal of the school since 2015. Before that, she worked as curriculum and instruction site director in Norwalk, as an instructional coach in Newington and a teacher in Danbury.
The DEI director will plan and coordinate programs and training related to diversity, equity and inclusion, according to the job description. The job’s responsibilities include leading or facilitating equity teams and DEI committees, reviewing district policies and practices for impact on equity, developing strategies to recruit, hire and retain a diverse staff, and facilitating opportunities for students to voice their opinions in matters related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
The full-time position works out of the school district’s central office and is part of the school administrators union, but the director will also work with the borough.
Board of Education Chairman Jeffrey Litke said the new position will work with staff to infuse equity into every aspect of the school system and community.
“The overall goal of the new director of diversity, equity and inclusion position is to support the borough’s efforts to advance a school- and townwide culture where all members of the school and greater community are accepted, valued and empowered,” Litke said.
Rangel’s salary is $143,908 for this fiscal year, according to Human Resources Director John Lawlor.
Rangel received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a concentration in Spanish and a master’s degree in instructional technology from Western Connecticut State University. She earned an educational leadership certification from Sacred Heart University.
Rangel, who is married with two children, said she plans to first listen to community members to learn about their experiences.
“My overall goal is to make this borough the place that best exemplifies working together as a collaborative community by listening to each other, understanding the perspectives of all, and creating action steps to move us closer to our shared vision for the borough,” she said.
Litke said officials are excited by the experience, skill set and passion Rangel brings to the position.
“She is eager to begin the important work of ensuring that all of our students have equity in access, experiences and outcomes, and collaborating to strengthen a culture of equity and inclusion,” Litke said.
Rangel is one of three new administrators the school board hired at a special meeting late last month.
The board appointed Melissa Carbone coordinator of pupil services. Carbone, who lives in Bristol, replaced Elizabeth Kennedy, who was transferred to the assistant director of special education position. Carbone has been the assistant principal at Northend Elementary School in New Britain since 2019.
The coordinator of pupil services is part of the administrator’s union and the salary is $104,845 for this fiscal year.
Michael Bonnardi was hired as the new facilities director to replace Kevin Dion, who resigned to take a job in another district. Bonnardi, a Naugatuck resident, was director of property management at the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA in New Haven.
The director of facilities is non-union position. The salary is $94,000 this fiscal year.