School board picks next superintendent

Michael Yamin, director of special services and pupil personnel for Waterbury public schools, has been appointed the next superintendent of schools for Region 16. –RA ARCHIVE
Michael Yamin, director of special services and pupil personnel for Waterbury public schools, has been appointed the next superintendent of schools for Region 16. –RA ARCHIVE

REGION 16 — The Board of Education reached into the Waterbury school system to find Region 16’s next superintendent of schools.

The board, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, appointed Michael Yamin superintendent Tuesday night following interviews with four finalists for the position. The appointment is pending a contract agreement, which is expected to be reached by the end of this week or early next week.

“I was very excited and I’m eager to begin,” said Yamin, 45, about being offered the position.

Yamin, a Cheshire resident, has spent the bulk of his educational career in the Waterbury school system. He was promoted to director of special services and pupil personnel for Waterbury public schools in 2012. Prior to the promotion, he was principal of Kennedy High School in Waterbury for five years.

In March Yamin was named interim principal of Crosby High School in Waterbury after then Principal Michael Cain abruptly resigned. He has been credited by Waterbury officials for turning around the culture at the struggling school.

Yamin received his superintendent’s certificate in 1999 after graduating from the University of Connecticut’s educational leadership program. He earned his certification as an intermediate administrator through Southern Connecticut State University’s sixth year program.

Yamin also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UConn and a Master of Science degree in special education from SCSU.

“After the final interviews the Board of Education believed Mike would be and should be the next face of Region 16 going forward because of his experience, his credentials and his response to questions,” current Superintendent of Schools Tim James said.

James announced his plans to resign in April due to health issues stemming from an undisclosed medical condition. He came to the district in January 2012 as an interim and was hired as the permanent superintendent in August 2012.

James will remain until Yamin starts. The target date for Yamin to begin is Sept. 2, James said, which is the first day of school.

School board Chair Donna Cullen said Yamin has some big shoes to fill, but the board is confident he can do so.

“The board really feels 100 percent that he’s the right candidate for us, and we’re looking forward to see what he can bring to the region,” she said.

Yamin isn’t starting for another month or so but he has some goals in mind for when he begins, including building relationships with the community, assisting the school building committee with the three-part building project, making sure the learning environment is safe and secure for students, and developing a shared vision with the community.

James said he will meet with Yamin throughout August and is willing to help anyway he can to make sure the transition is a smooth one.

“I’m looking forward to working with Mike,” James said.

Yamin said the ability to impact every student in a district is what appealed to him about pursuing administrative positions over his career and ultimately the superintendent job.

“I always felt I wanted to be an instructional leader and wanted to make systemic change,” he said.

The Region 16 opening was the first superintendent job Yamin applied for, although he has held a superintendent certificate for five years.

Though he is new to being a superintendent, Cullen said, Yamin’s experiences will be an asset to the region in many areas, including the building project. She added he has a good personality and will be an effective communicator with parents, staff, students and the communities.

Yamin said the Region 16 job attracted him due to local ties and the actions of the region.

Yamin was born and raised in Waterbury. He’s very fond of the Greater Waterbury area and said growing up he was close with relatives that lived in Prospect.

Cullen said Yamin’s local ties also appealed to the board and made him stand out during the selection process. She said when asked about his desire to be in Region 16, Yamin’s answers were sincere.

“You could tell he meant it,” Cullen said.

Yamin added the investment the region is making in its schools through the building project and the goal of embracing more technology in the classroom attracted him to the district as well.

“It was the type of district I wanted to be in,” Yamin said.