New superintendent presents vision

Naugatuck Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke.
Naugatuck Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke.

NAUGATUCK — Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke came into her first Board of Education meeting with a vision in place.

“During the time between the time I was appointed and the time I started, which was about 60 days, which is a lot of time to think about how to present myself as superintendent of schools, I thought a lot about vision and leadership,” Locke said during the July 10 board meeting.

Locke was hired in April to replace former Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson, who unexpectedly tendered his resignation in September. James Connelly served as interim superintendent until Locke took over July 1.

Locke spoke of her vision of leadership, which includes helping grow the community through positive changes in the school district.

“My dream is to build a school district so that families move to Naugatuck so their children can come to our schools,” Locke said. “Because in our schools our students are constantly learning and all adults are constantly learning.”

Locke said she wanted to see Naugatuck schools become connected, vibrant, happy communities with clear standards of excellence and a focus on evidence-based or measurable improvement outcomes for students.

Locke’s vision for the district doesn’t just stop at the students. She wants to ensure Naugatuck schools are a good place to work for the staff and parents are able to point out ways their children are receiving a quality education in the borough.

“I believe that collaborative inquiry is the most effective way to improve practice, meaning if we put more minds at the table we’ll come up with better solutions to our problems,” Locke said.

Locke said the district is capable of accomplishing her vision, but needs a plan to know how to move forward.

“Really the essence of what we need to do is to get better every day and, in order to do that, we have to have a plan to build upon,” Locke said.

To show that she was ready to practice what she’s preaching, Locke presented her entry plan for July and August to the board.

The plan consists of four main points — building relationships in the district and community, developing a shared vision, creating a strategic plan to accomplish the vision and having schools ready for a successful 2014-15 school year.

The entry plan laid out 21 goals under those four points, including writing a letter of introduction to students, parents and teachers, creating a shared responsibility between the board and the administration for achieving Naugatuck’s vision for its schools, and having a technology plan in place by the district’s opening day.

Some of the goals, such as finding a new principal for Western Elementary School, have already been accomplished.

Board of Education Chairman David Heller welcomed Locke to the district, saying the board was pleased to have her leading the school system.

“Since July 1 we’ve had our new superintendent here. We’re thrilled and excited and jumping with joy. She’s been hard at work already,” Heller said.