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NPS picks retiring NY superintendent as new chief academic officer

Brenda W. Myers, Ed. D., attends Friday’s Norwalk Board of Education meeting in the Cranbury Park bunkhouse.

Updated, 2:31 p.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Board of Education members have chosen a former superintendent as  the new chief academic officer for Norwalk Public Schools.

Brenda W. Myers, Ed. D. will fill the NPS central office vacancy created when Chief Academic Officer Michael Connor left to become Middletown Superintendent of Schools.  Myers is retiring from the Valhalla Union Free School District in New York in August, after seven years as superintendent, according to an announcement on the Valhalla school district website.

Math instructional specialist Craig Creller has been serving as NPS interim chief academic officer. 

Board members met Myers during an executive session to kick off their retreat Thursday evening in Cranbury Park.  Myers is attending Friday’s afternoon session.

“In her new role Dr. Myers will cultivate, implement and manage Norwalk’s PreK-12 core curriculum and educational programs and services, including course work, instruction, staff evaluations and professional development,” a Norwalk Public Schools press release said. “An experienced leader with a deep knowledge of curriculum and instruction best practices, Dr. Myers has served as a superintendent and deputy superintendent for instruction, as well as a researcher, executive coach and consultant.”

In Valhalla, Myers led “a diverse school district that includes a high school Blue-Ribbon award winner for exceptional performance,” the NPS press release said.

“{S}he led Valhalla from a struggling school district to one of which the community can be proud,” Valhalla school board president Bob Ierace said in a statement.

“Since arriving in Valhalla in 2010, Dr. Myers has elevated the district, inspired staff to set higher standards and carried everyone along the wave of education innovation,” said board member Mike Doran. “If the board of seven years ago could see into the future and know the higher standards and progress she would bring to Valhalla, it would be extremely proud of its decision.”

Prior to Valhalla, Myers served as superintendent of schools in Groton, NY for five years, where she improved student achievement through learning-centered instruction, innovation, and professional dialogue and development.  Myers’s appointment will be confirmed at the August Board of Ed meeting.

According to the NPS release:

“While in Valhalla, Dr. Myers developed a comprehensive strategic planning process focused on improving student achievement, and initiated a plan to integrate useful technology into curriculum across the district.

“Dr. Myers’s experience includes more than 13 years of instructional leadership roles at Broome-Tioga BOCES based in Binghamton, New York. Part of the New York BOCES system established to help public schools provide quality programs by sharing services, Broome-Tioga BOCES includes 15 school districts in Broome and Tioga counties, and serves nearly 35,000 students each year in grades K-12 and adult programs.  Her roles at Broome-Tioga BOCES included deputy superintendent for instruction, deputy director of educational leadership, and supervisor of instructional support services. Her work there also included furthering career and technical education, workforce development, alternative education, special education, educational support services, and technology services.

“Her background also includes serving as a senior research associate for nationally and locally funded research projects, executive leadership consultant for The Myers Center for Applied Research and Development, and school board development consultant with a focus on improving instruction and the effective use of data. She is an adjunct instructor and doctoral advisor at Manhattanville College and St. John Fisher College in executive and educational leadership.  Her early career included positions as a K-12 language arts coordinator and reading specialist, as well as a teacher in grades 3 and 6.

“Dr. Myers holds a doctorate in educational theory and practice from Binghamton University, a certificate of advanced study in educational administration from State University College at Cortland, and a Master of Science in reading and Bachelor of Science in elementary/early secondary social science education from State University College at Oneonta.

“She is affiliated with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the American Educational Research Association, and is a former board member of the Association of Supervision & Curriculum Development. Dr. Myers was named Westchester School Music Association Administrator of the Year in 2016 and received the National Computer Science Teachers Award for Leadership last year.

12 comments

MarjorieM July 27, 2018 at 6:55 pm

Nothing has changed. Retirees from New York come to Norwalk to get a second pension. Too bad no one at central office has the history how that has not worked in the past!

Neal Konstantin July 28, 2018 at 8:59 am

Thanks you Board of Ed, for picking an accomplished experienced educator to help lead the district forward. The naysayers will always criticize the hard work of others rather than being part of the solution.

Piberman July 28, 2018 at 10:45 am

No mention of the generous salary. After all our BOE maintains competitive salaries with the surrounding towns among the wealthiest in the nation. That our City’s Grand List has been stagnant for nearly a decade as long time homeowners exit the City fearing further declines in property values and ever higher punitive taxes isn’t of any concern to our BOE. From the BOE’s perspective Norwalk is a Gold Coast Town and if residents don’t like spending monies to hire the “best” they can leave town. And they are. When it comes to our public schools there are no spending constraints.

Pros & Cons July 28, 2018 at 8:12 pm

Sounds like a highly qualified candidate, absolutely. Wouldn’t be surprised if she waives health insurance benefits since she’ll probably gets with her NY pension. (Wonder if this will save Norwalk taxpayers $ or will district compensate in some other way.) However there are several reasons BOE might think carefully about hiring retirees from other states, no matter the qualifications. First, it doesn’t help build or promote a local talent pool/career path. Next, retirees who cross the border usually don’t hang around more than a few years. Sometimes this is because of the nasty social security whammy that affects CT educators which could hurt them in the pocketbook if they stay too long in the Nutmeg State.

MarjorieM July 28, 2018 at 9:49 pm

Just some facts from the past:
1. Retirees do not stay around very long. They stay long enough to be eligible to collect Connecticut’s pension.
2. Retirees from NY are typically retired on the job in Norwalk, biding their time until they can leave. (Their first months do appear to be energetic)
3. Retirees, most of the time, try to turn Norwalk into the district they left, regardless of whether the model fits Norwalk’s population.
4. High level retirees are very expensive to hire.

Check back in a year’s time. I hope this new hire is different from the reputations of the past retired, on the job administrators.

Pros & Cons July 29, 2018 at 7:12 am

@MarjorieM Many over-the-border retirees don’t plan to stay long enough to collect CT pension – it’s all about the salary on top of home state pension. Takes years to vest, and as I said, collecting a CT pension could jeopardize social security benefits earned in another state.

Lisa Brinton Thomson July 29, 2018 at 7:42 am

Marj makes valid points. No disrespect toward Dr. Myers, but central office has been a revolving door. Is there no one qualified in Norwalk or in the surrounding areas that understands the K-12 curriculum?

Piberman July 29, 2018 at 11:23 pm

If I read the web correctly Valhalla has 1280 students K-12. And the former Supt. served 7 yrs

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