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Controversial West Rocks principal reassigned to Norwalk High

West Rocks Middle School Principal Lynne Moore attends a Board of Education meeting in June.

Updated, 9:14 a.m.: Added explanation of housemaster position.  6:48 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – West Rocks Middle School Principal Lynne Moore has been reassigned to Norwalk High School, where she will be a housemaster, according to Norwalk Association of School Administrators (NASA) Vice President Tony Ditrio.

The housemaster position is similar to that of Assistant Principal.

Moore recently participated in a Loudermill hearing, a pre-termination due process hearing required for public employees who are facing disciplinary action.  The hearing was adjudicated by Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski, with Ditrio present.  Moore is NASA president.

“Of course we don’t think {Moore’s reassignment} is fair or warranted,” Ditrio wrote in a Thursday evening e-mail to NancyOnNorwalk. “It seems that the ‘hearing’ we had was not used to give Dr. Moore the opportunity to explain her position and give evidence to prove her case but rather a necessary step in a pre-determined effort to harm Dr. Moore.”

Norwalk Public Schools Communications Director Brenda Wilcox Williams said otherwise.

“Dr. Adamowski’s decision was made following a thorough investigation, which concluded that the district’s efforts to improve instruction through the middle school redesign program would not be implemented effectively at West Rocks with Dr. Moore as principal,” Wilcox Williams wrote.

Adamowski previously reprimanded Moore in 2016, charging insubordination in her actions regarding the middle school redesign program.  Moore unsuccessfully challenged the 2016 reprimand in a hearing — opened to the public at her request — before the Norwalk Board of Education’s Negotiations and Personnel Committee.  Her court challenge of the reprimand ended in February after it was upheld by Superior Court Judge Daniel Tobin.

A result of Moore’s transfer is that West Rocks Middle School will start the school year with a new principal and vice principal, as feared by some West Rocks parents in recent weeks.  Vice Principal Joe DeVellis was reassigned to Roton Middle School last month.

“This whole thing just weeks before school begins is awful and sets up WRMS to start the year on very bad footing,” WRMS parent and School Governance Council Member David Young wrote in July, after DeVellis was notified of his transfer.

Young on Thursday evening described the changes as “shocking and disappointing.”

“We have received nothing from the administration by way of any information,” he wrote. “All of these moves were done with intent and purpose and with foundational directive of focused deception.  The PTO and the SGC were left and are left in the dark regarding who or what is coming.  It is truly a sad and dark day when misguided administrators enforce change without the inclusion or understanding of they are doing and who they are effecting.  They have included no one.”

Board of Education Negotiations and Personnel Committee Chairman Mike Lyons said state law and local policy did not permit advance notice of the moves to West Rocks PTO and SGC.  “Evaluation of NPS employees and administrative decisions related thereto are governed by state statutes, local policies, and collective bargaining agreements,” Lyons wrote in an e-mail to NancyOnNorwalk.  “None of these provide any role for PTOs or SGCs (in fact, involving them would almost certainly violate the law).  Norwalk gives more authority to our SGCs than any other city in the state, but we have not given them authority in this area and couldn’t even if we wanted to.”

Young and other supporters of Moore rallied outside City Hall June 19 to oppose Moore’s rumored termination.

 

Preliminary results from the 2017-18 Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) tests, reviewed by the Board of Education last month, show that math scores are up at West Rocks Middle School. State results for 2017-18 are not available; the state gave West Rocks an overall accountability rating of 70.3 for 2016-17, up from 64.1 in 2015-16. West Rocks was rated slightly above average in science scores for “all students” and well above average for high needs students for the 2017-18 school year, but was lower than average in math and English Language Arts.

Moore has been principal at WRMS since 1998.  The state Department of Education website lists DeVellis as Assistant Principal since 2009.

Moore and Ditrio were referred to by then-BoE Chairman Mike Lyons in 2015 as members of “the four horsemen” who were holding back reform efforts. Lyons in 2015 called Adamowski “certified ball-buster” needed to clean up the school system.

Moore’s labor issues with NPS also go way back, including four letters of reprimand between 2009 and 2016, including the one issued by Adamowski.

Norwalk Public Schools Director of Communications Brenda Wilcox Williams said in a Friday morning e-mail to NancyOnNorwalk that the title of housemaster was recently updated to Assistant Principal.  Norwalk High School’s web site lists four employees with the title of “House Assistant Principal”, not including Moore.  Assistant Principals at Norwalk High School report to Principal Reginald Roberts.

22 comments

Jalna Jaeger August 10, 2018 at 5:23 am

Dr. Moore should retire.
she would find it much less stressful than fighting with Norwalk.
Retirement is great! You can do what you want when you want to.
There are also numerous volunteer opportunities available .
Do us all a favor, enjoy life, retire Dr. Moore!

Mitch Adis August 10, 2018 at 7:57 am

Huge error by the BOE. Under the leadership of Dr. Moore Westrocks was performing extraordinary well. Why change? Makes no sense to change the entire leadership team weeks before school starts. If performance drops it is on the BOE. Can’t wait for Election Day.

Piberman August 10, 2018 at 9:42 am

The contrast between our BOE’s personnel evaluations led by attorney Mike Lyons and how City Hall is run is quite startling. When have we ever learned of a City Hall senior employee being “relocated” ? At City Hall everyone gets yearly salary raises for doing the same job. At the BOE we have evidence of professional employee evaluation.

Imagine if City Hall were run with professional management practices.

MarjorieM August 10, 2018 at 10:45 am

This was not done in the best interest of the students. Moore was raising test scores. Perhaps HER middle school plan was better than Adamowski’s? Outrageous decision!

Sue L. August 10, 2018 at 11:30 am

@MajorieM, teachers were raising test scores in that school, not Dr. Moore. She was more concerned about how she and her school looked in the public eye than the academics. There was an ELA coach, a Math Coach, Math 180 and Read 180 coaches in that building regularly for those teachers that chose to work with them. They get the more credit for bringing the score up than Dr. Moore. Not to mention the dedicated staff that work hard for their students. I wonder how much better the scores would be if Dr. Moore didn’t interfere so much with the Middle School Redesign? Kudos to CO and BOE for being proactive in NPS’s education.

Curious Voter August 10, 2018 at 11:48 am

I agree Mitch, if the West Rocks parents are really pissed make sure you and everyone you know not vote for the BOE members you feel are the problem. Dems or Repubs! Ms. Fensmore was paid a settlement with our tax dollars if I’m not mistaken, what makes anyone think that Ms. Moore won’t be paid a settlement? Those darn emails huh!
I read somewhere that a current fellow BOE member said obtaining those emails was ethically and morally wrong, so getting to the truth is ethically and morally wrong, even though obtained through FOIA legally? Sounds like a trumpian statement and going along with something that is clearly wrong is also on page one of the same playbook.
How about being smart enough to not send any emails at all, problem solved.
I wonder if the BOE member saying it was Repubican? That wouldn’t surprise me a bit, the Kool Aid seems to have infected a lot of people and encourages more shameful behavior.

MarjorieM August 10, 2018 at 11:54 am

Sue L. are you saying that the teachers in the other middle schools were not working as hard? Didn’t the other schools avail themselves of offered help from coaches? It’s insulting to the other middle schools to say teachers did not work as hard as West Rock’s teachers! Research tells us that school leaders make the difference.

Jack Chiaramonte August 10, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Townie, Glad you appreciate my sense of humor. I have plenty of success in my life. Took care of my dear sweet Dad (Alzheimer’s) until he recently passed. Always there for my.elderly mom too. Have two great kids that I was able to help both finish their 4 year degrees from great universities, and they respect & love me Looking forward to heading to Florida and leave by this mess Malloy, Duff & Hines left us. Plenty happy and no regrets. I hope you never have to take care of a loved one afflicted with a disease like Alzheimer’s. You should be more involved with your own life Townie, instead of wondering about others. A bit of advise, Don’t judge others until you’ have walked in their shoes. You never know the battles others deal with every day.

Jack Chiaramonte August 10, 2018 at 7:00 pm

LOL! Mitch! If you prefer to believe what the Fake News Dog Patch reported, go right ahead. I stand by what I said then and still do today. And I certainly did NOT resign because of what was in FB. A young white girl and her 4-5 year old brother was severely beaten by a young mob of black kids and not a word of outrage was there in the media. Had the races been reversed, there would of been a public outcry, marches, riots!. Black “leaders” like Sharpton were no where to be found to denounce the black on white attack. I stand by what I said then. If you choose to get your “news”from a left wing rag that didn’t interview me, that’s your choice. At the time, we had problems with Mosby, Rivas & Murray. They helped chase Rivera out of town. The dialog between the Board members was not good. My children had just finished with the Norwalk School system, and since I feel BOE members should have their children in the system, have some skin in the game, I was going to resign and let Bryan Meeks take over. Besides I had gotten a job that required I be out of town for month(s) at a time, so I couldn’t stay in the board. I would of stood on just to be a thorn to those who caused Rivera (and Marks too) to be chased out if town, but I couldn’t because of my new job. The search group we hired to find a new superintendent said it would be difficult to find a quality superintendent if they saw board members at odds with each other. So after speaking with Mike Lyons, I felt I could not shut up about the racial BS that was going on. And to not make it difficult in finding a quality superintendent, I decided to leave so a potential superintendent would not be swayed by the angst on the board. As I said, I had already told the board chairman I would be leaving. So I chose to leave for the sake of the kids getting a quality superintendent. It certainly wasn’t because of what the Fake News Dog Patch had written. And of course there were those that spun their BS saying I was forced out. I certainly wasn’t. And now you know what really happened. Don’t believe everything you read from the press.

Mitch Adis August 10, 2018 at 7:29 pm

Willy Nelson was caught in bed with another woman by his wife at the time. He said to her “What are you going to believe-What I tell you or what you see? Similar argument posed by JC.

Sue L. August 10, 2018 at 8:15 pm

@MajorieM- I don’t know what went on in the other middle schools leadership-wise, so I cannot speak to them. I know what went on at West Rocks and in my opinion, Dr. Moore had very little to do with the success in that school. If she was more involved academically then scores could have been even better. This has nothing to do with other administrators.

CT Yankee August 12, 2018 at 12:29 am

Just fire her! She’s had it coming for years! My kids are long graduated from the NPS, but this evil woman left her marks on the kids and on us as a family. Not to mention all the teachers and staff whose lives and careers she disrupted. 86 her fast because every tax dollars she gets in salary and benefits returns nothing to the people of Norwalk.

Bob Welsh August 12, 2018 at 9:17 pm

@U.S. Blues

The decision to edit that comment was mine.

The comment policy forbids insults. Using a word for fecal matter to describe human beings is, in my opinion, an insult, not to mention vulgar.

If I see a comment directing a vulgar insult at Republicans, I’ll edit that out too. I could be mistaken, but I interpreted “Repubicans” as a typo. If you can show me that this term is commonly used in a derogatory way towards Republicans, I’ll excise it.

I’ve been a registered Independent for my entire adult life. On some issues I agree with my Republican friends, and on others I agree with my Democratic friends. If you’d like to know more about my political beliefs, which don’t fit neatly into any box, you are welcome to contact me at [email protected] and we can meet for a cup of coffee.

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