It’s hard to believe that September is here and that school has already started!
The Board of Education has had a very busy summer working to fill key school administrative positions with experienced and highly qualified professionals. Previously, I introduced Mr. Don Gates who had been named Interim Principal at CRHS back in May. Mr. Gates has proven to be a strong leader, having brought his many years of experience and professionalism as well as his genuine passion for educating our students to the district. We are very fortunate to have Don’s commitment until we find a permanent Principal for Coginchaug Regional High School.
We are also extremely happy to be working with Dr. Ernest Perlini who joined our district on a full time basis on July 1. Dr. Perlini has made a seamless transition onto our RSD13 team. With his extensive experience and natural leadership skills he was able to immediately focus on key issues and insure that every school was fully prepared for opening day. Some of his accomplishments include hiring Mr. Patrick Gustafson, new Assistant Principal at CRHS and filling many other open, budgeted staff positions created as a result of natural attrition within the system. Dr. Perlini was also able to re-align District Goals and School Improvement Plans, insure staff participation in a variety of professional development training opportunities and complete security improvements and other capital projects throughout the District. He has addressed many issues and provided direction on countless other tasks that required his attention over the summer. I can say with full confidence that RSD13 has not skipped a beat since Dr. Perlini joined us.
With all the interim administrative positions filled and Dr. Perlini firmly at the helm, the Board of Education has remained focused on our highest priority, the Superintendent Search Process. Working with Dr. Kaye Griffin of Cooperative Educational Services, we developed and implemented a timeline for the entire search process. Dr. Griffin then helped us to develop a recruitment brochure, identify state and national networks to contact, complete advertising and communication strategies, create the job posting and define the community-wide assessment process.
As your Board of Education, we are very committed to finding a superintendent who meets your expectations as a leader and educator in our community. We have been careful to create a community-wide assessment process that will be accessible by all of our constituents. Several focus group meetings were held in August reaching many of our town leaders, school administrators and other staff members and some of our senior citizens. Additional focus groups for school staff members, parents and students are scheduled in the first two weeks of September. In addition to the focus groups, we have created a survey designed to identify the leadership characteristics and other expectations you may have for our new superintendent. Please visit the home page of our RSD13 website to see the focus group schedule or to participate in the leadership profile survey. We hope you will participate; your input is invaluable!
We have already received several applications for the superintendent position and will continue to accept applications until mid-September. Once we close the job posting, Dr. Griffin will gather all the applicant data and meet with the entire Board to begin the important work of reviewing and selecting candidates. The Board is committed to finding an educator who mirrors our values, shares our standards and loves our children. If we find an applicant who conveys those values and meets all the criteria we’ve gathered, we anticipate voting on a permanent hire in late October. Given the strong leadership currently in place at both the district and at CRHS, the Board remains comfortable with delaying the search for the permanent high school principal until such time as we can involve our new superintendent. We will certainly keep you informed by updating our website and contacting our local newspapers as we proceed over the next few months.
In addition to the superintendent search, the Board has realigned our committee structure and scheduled regular committee meetings throughout the year. Our new committee structure is as follows: Student Achievement, Educational Resources, Human Resources and Policy. Committee members, responsibilities and the meeting schedule are posted under the Board of Education tab on our website. Our hope is that the new committee structure and meeting schedule will make us more productive and our meetings more accessible to the community. Please check the dates and join us if you can.
In mid-July we distributed an RFP for the Facilities Utilization Study approved in the budget referendum last May. Our Educational Resources Committee has reviewed the proposals submitted and interviewed firms considered for this project. At our Board of Education meeting on August 28th, a discussion and vote for the firm recommended by the Educational Resources Committee was taken. I am pleased to announce that the Board has selected Drummey Rosane Anderson, Inc., a planning, architecture and interior design firm with extensive experience in school utilization studies across the state and beyond. We believe that feedback from the community is also essential to the success of this project and we hope you will get involved as we engage in the study. We are looking forward to this facilities review and recommendations to help us respond to the declining enrollment we are experiencing in our district.
As you can see, we are staying busy and working hard to continue to deliver a quality educational system to our community. We look forward to the coming year and the opportunities that lay ahead.
On behalf of the Board of Education, I thank you for your patience and support as we navigate through this challenging time and I hope you will join us and provide input at our Board of Education meetings throughout the year
(Kerrie R Flanagan is chairwoman of the RSD13 Board of Education.)