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NPS announces new West Rocks leadership team

Norwalk High School Assistant Principal Adam Reynolds explains the High School Program of Study to Board of Education members May in Norwalk High School.

Updated, 7:01 p.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk High School Assistant Principal Adam Reynolds has been chosen as interim West Rocks Middle School principal.

Reynolds will be assisted by “seasoned leader” James Crouch as vice principal, Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski said Friday in a letter to West Rocks parents.

“Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Crouch will begin their new roles at West Rocks effective August 17,” Adamowski wrote. “At the request of the West Rocks SGC {School Governance Council}, Mr. Devellis will assist with the transition. In keeping with the Board of Education’s School Governance Policy, the West Rocks School Governance Council will select a permanent principal, with the support of the NPS Talent Department in the spring of 2019.”

Longtime West Rocks Middle School Principal Lynne Moore has been transferred to Norwalk High School, where she will be an Assistant Principal.  West Rocks Vice Principal Joe DeVellis is on special assignment to Roton Middle School.  Adamowski in his letter said the moves were made after “an extensive investigation and serious consideration.”

“I know there has been a lot of discussion and rumors around West Rocks this summer, which has created a heightened concern for parents and students,” Adamowski wrote. “I apologize for the apprehension this process has raised. While I am unable to discuss personnel matters, I can tell you that I am confident your school and students will thrive under these new leadership assignments.”

Adamowski noted in his letter that Norwalk Public Schools is in the process of implementing Phase III of a “comprehensive middle school improvement program, which has been designed to increase instructional time and academic support for students, improve instruction, and close Norwalk’s historic middle school achievement gap.”

“Through a program called ‘Encore,’ our redesigned middle school program also gives students the opportunity to explore new ideas based on their personal interests. In addition to improving instruction so that your children can be successful in high school and beyond, both Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Crouch are committed to making sure that West Rocks fully implements the Middle School Redesign plan, and provides a nurturing and supportive environment for students and teachers.”

Reynolds has been NHS assistant principal since coming to the district in 2013, with a “strong emphasis on curriculum and instruction,” and this year spearheaded the “redesign of the High School Program of Studies and the implementation of master scheduling training modules for middle school administrators,” Adamowski wrote.

Reynolds is known to many West Rocks families via his role at NHS, Adamowski wrote.  Prior to joining Norwalk, Reynolds worked at Shelton High School, where he designed and developed curriculum, taught English and coached track. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Sacred Heart University, and earned his Sixth Year Degree in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University.  Reynolds is currently working on his doctorate in the EdD program at SCSU.

Crouch has been Jefferson Elementary School assistant principal and “played a key role in raising student achievement in Reading, as evidenced by Jefferson’s 2018 SBAC results,” Adamowski wrote. In 2010 Crouch left a Wyandanch, N.Y. Crouch joined the district in 2010 as Assistant Principal at Roton Middle School.  Before that he worked as an assistant principal in Wyandanch, N.Y.

“Both Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Crouch have also successfully completed the prestigious National Principals Academy Fellowship Program offered by Norwalk Public Schools through the RELAY Graduate School of Education,” Adamowski wrote. “The program is part of our commitment under our Strategic Operating Plan to develop and promote outstanding school leaders from within.”

28 comments

Suzie August 10, 2018 at 9:32 pm

This article states that she (Dr. Moore)
was reassigned to NHS as an assistant principal when in actuality she was reassigned as ‘one of five house masters at NHS without salary protections. This all makes me wonder what is really going on! And I can only imagine it must all be rather serious if Dr. Adamowski himself felt that removing this tenured unionist was necessary – and did so after “an extensive investigation and serious consideration”. Now that sounds very serious to me! And I have a strong feeling that the ‘truth of this story’ has yet to be disclosed; which will have nothing to do with what I’ve read thus far (removal of old carpeting, that four horsemen nonsense,etc. etc.)

Dolores C August 10, 2018 at 11:11 pm

If Dr. Adamowski writes about “Promoting school leaders from within”, then I need to understand why Joe DeVellis was not made Principal of West Rocks Middle School.? Anyone who has ever worked with Joe De Vellis will tell you that he is more than qualified to be principal of West Rocks. He knows the students, the parents, the faculty and staff and is a man of exemplary character along with possessing an excellent work ethic. Joe has been at West Rocks as a guidance counselor and then assistant principal for 20 years and there isn’t a job that Joe hasn’t tackled in his time there. He has always made himself available to listen to the concerns of all. So, how has Joe been rewarded for being an exemplary school leader? He is being sent to Roton, the smallest school in Norwalk to do a feasibility study in guidance AFTER they eliminated guidance counselor positions, the guidance secretary and no longer have guidance department chairs. Usually a feasibility study is undergone BEFORE positions are cut. Makes you wonder why Joe DeVellis is really being sent to Roton. And to add insult to injury, Dr. Adamowki has assigned Joe to train the new principal and assistant . So, if Mr. DeVellis is capable of training these administrators, why then was he not promoted to be principal especially if promoting from within is the new NPS mantra. Not sure I really believe this as this philosophy hasn’t existed in the NPS since the days of Superintendent Ralph Sloan. That was the time when the NPS was an excellent school system. I was proud to say my children attended school in Norwalk and I started as a teacher there and eventually became a guidance counselor,as a matter of fact, at West Rocks Middle School. Thank goodness, I have been retired 5 years,as watching the decline of the NPS has been very upsetting even viewing it from the sidelines. Yes,during my time at WR, there was faculty and staff unrest regarding Lynne Moore’s authoritarian style but NEVER Joe. Joe was the “go to” administrator that was there to listen, but at the same time, as the assistant principal was Dr. Moore’s right hand man because he was he ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL. And by the way, if he didn’t follow Dr.Moore’s directives, he could have been written up for insubordination, just like Dr, Moore when she was insubordinate to various superintendents. Joe DeVellis has been caught in the cross fire with the Dr, Moore controversy. It is a travesty to me Dr. Adamowsky that you take both administrators away from a school. If you really care about West Rocks’ students and families along with staff, Joe DeVellis should have been selected for principal. He has the most experience at that school, but most importantly, I know Joe would work tirelessly to make West Rocks the best Middle School in town like the days when Tom Reitano was principal. Back then, teachers were promoted to administrators based on merit. After Dr. Sloan, superintendents were bringing in their own people along with school politics dictating who was being hired for administrative positions . We need to get back to the days when the children become the NPS systems first priority instead of all these political games. If and when this happens, hopefully real estate in Norwalk will rebound.

Wow August 10, 2018 at 11:47 pm

“I can tell you that I am confident your school and students will thrive under these new leadership assignments.” – Adamowski

Doesn’t West Rocks already have some of the best test scores in the district, and they arnt fully complying with the redesign? Sounds fishy

Mitch Adis August 11, 2018 at 7:19 am

If an independent team looked into this I bet you would see Adamowski’s resignation. The stories do not add up. The actions of the BOE leadership is inconsistent. This is personal. Why else would they be so persistent? They arent this passionate about topics that need action.

Bob Welsh August 11, 2018 at 8:50 am

@Suzie

For many years, “house master” was the title of administrators at NHS who were the equivalent of Assistant Principals. Brenda Wilcox Williams, Director of Communications for Norwalk Public Schools, said on Friday that the job title was recently changed to Assistant Principal.

The Norwalk High School web site lists four “House Assistant Principals”: Adam Reynolds for A House, Dr. Carol Marinaccio for B House, Ed Singleton for D House, and Jacquelyn Aarons for E House.

https://nhs.norwalkps.org/staff_directory/administration

With Thursday and Friday’s news, NHS loses Adam Reynolds and gains Lynne Moore, which to the best of our knowledge brings the total number of NHS Assistant Principals to four. If there exists a “C House” and an Assistant Principal is hired for C House, that would bring the total to five.

Dolores C August 11, 2018 at 9:40 am

For clarification purposes, there is no C house. It is A, B, D,and E House. It has always been this way. There are 4 Housemasters, or now as they are called, Assistant Principals.

And Mitch, I agree with you, this doesn’t add up, and even if Lynne Moore has had insubordination letters in her files for years, why touch Joe DeVellis who has had an impeccable record and the transition would be seamless for students, parents, faculty, and staff. I totally agree with you; this is personal. A sad time at West Ricks for all, so pathetic to see such a hard working faculty and staff have no continuity in leadership when Joe DeVellis could have taken over the reigns and school morale would have soared. By the way, I understand that the parents of WR received a letter from Dr. Adamowski about the change in leadership but NOT the teachers. Don’t you think they had the right to know at the same time the parents did, Dr. Adamowski? The Board of Education, do you approve of all of this? Norwaljk taxpayers, Norwalk is in desparate need of better educational leadership if we want to improve the educational climate and quality of our schools. These are your tax dollars at work and until Norwalk has a school system to be proud of again, our real estate values will not increase. Talk to any realtor in Norwalk and they will tell you, there is a direct correlation between the rise and decline of real estate in your community based on the educational system. As election time rolls near, keep this in mind as we need to oust those with their own agenda and what is NOT in the BEST INTEREST of Norwalk. Our children are our future. They need to be our NUMBER ONE PRIORITY,

West Rocks Teacher August 11, 2018 at 11:10 am

@Delores, I know you were very close to DeVellis but he has been a disappointment to many staff members for several years. He is part of a problem that needed fixing. You of all people should know better! You witnessed the abuse at west Rocks.

MarjorieM August 11, 2018 at 11:39 am

The truth is, this was not in the best interest of the students. The truth is, a less egotistical superintendent would want to know why West Rocks had rising test scores. Perhaps West Rocks was a model that needed to be followed. I never liked Moore’s haughty attitude, but she sure got results. Something she was doing was right.

West Rocks Teacher August 11, 2018 at 11:54 am

This was absolutely done in the best interest of the students! “Lynne Moore’s haughty attitude…” That’s actually funny. Students and staff at West Rocks have had to suffer with more than a “haughty attitude” for years. I wish Lynne Moore well just not anywhere near us!

Brenda Wilcox Williams August 11, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Dr. Adamowski’s message was sent to West Rocks teachers and staff as well as parents.

Tysen Canevari August 11, 2018 at 6:17 pm

Don’t feel too bad for her. She makes a nice salary of $165,000 to be insubordinate every year. Does this mean we don’t have to see the silly rally pictures in the hour every day now? The teachers at West Rocks are celebrating the summer gift they just received!

Dolores C August 11, 2018 at 10:23 pm

West Rocks Teacher, I have NEVER implied that it was a panacea working at West Rocks and abuse of faculty and staff didn’t exist but NEVER at the hands of Joe DeVellis. He was an exceptional Guidance Counselor and Asistant Principal. The truth be told is that you are right, I was close to Joe as he was a man of exceptional character and a true professional. We were both strong advocates of students and did what was right in the best interest of the students. I still speak to some of the faculty there and I have NOT Heard of the dissension about Joe that you speak of. On the contrary, he was the go to administrator there making time to listen to the concerns of faculty and staff. To me, it is plain and simple, Joe DeVellis was ousted because he was part of the Lynne Moore administration and I believe WR teacher that you have convicted Joe for working closely with Lynne Moore but as the assistant principal, what choice did he have? Unless the Joe DeVellis I know changed since I have been retired, and I doubt it very much, it was a pleasure to work with an assistant principal who always left his door open to hear your concerns.

Susan Wallerstein August 12, 2018 at 8:03 am

Wondering why Norwalk High felt the need to change title from Housemaster to Ass’t. Principal after more than 40 years? Other area high schools have housemasters as well so no professional identity issue. Plus McMahon still has housemasters according to school website.

Dolores C August 12, 2018 at 8:34 am

Brrenda Wilcox Williams, what You FAILED to tell the public that the letter to the parents about the change in leadership at WR went out to parents FIRST. The staff WAS NOT included on this email. It wasn’t until hours later that the staff received the email when the Teacher’s Union heard about it and called Central Office.
Again, another slap in the face to the staff, showing no sign of respect for them.
A lie of omission Ms Williams. How about Central Office telling the WHOLE TRUTH. The taxpayers of Norwalk have a right to know!!!

West Rocks Teacher August 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm

We received notification at 4:05 on Friday afternoon via email from central office. Don’t think that is unreasonable timing since Moore’s meeting was late afternoon.

@Dolores, he was The best guidance counselor. Unfortunately, he did change these last several years. Since I still work there and you don’t I probably have a better grasp of the day to day at West Rocks. Saying that he was the go to admin when the alternative was Moore is not saying much. However, the last few years Devellis was ineffective. Just like the many other assistant principals who were there during your tenure.

Dolores C August 12, 2018 at 2:43 pm

The point is the email should have been sent to parents and staff SIMULTANEOUSLY as it was the SAME email, no caveat for staff and again, the point being, the staff at WR should have been given this sign of professional courtesy.
WR Teacher, since your attack on Joe DeVellis about not being an excellent Assistant Principal, I have been in contact with other staff members who assured me that Joe DeVellis STILL is a very capable assistant principal but that he was a casualty as a result of the Lynne Moore controversy .
I may no longer be at WR but I do have my contacts whose opinions I respect very much as they are very dedicated teachers and staff members. People’s characters don’t change and Joe DeVellis was respected not only as a Guidance Counselor but an Assistant Principal when I worked there. My contacts tell me this is STILL TRUE but as they say, there is always some sour grapes in the bunch. Need I say more!

West Rocks Teacher August 12, 2018 at 9:09 pm

@Dolores, I did not attack Joe Devellis, I just don’t share your over the top, idealistic view of him as an assistant principal. I have a more realistic view. Are your friends the same colleagues who when to the Moore rallies in support of her? Many of us are glad Moore has been reassigned and have no problem with the entire administration being replaced. To new beginnings!

Dolores C August 12, 2018 at 11:46 pm

West Ricks Teacher, please reread your posts as you DID attack Joe DeVellis more than once. Your last post you wrote, “the last few years DeVellis was ineffective.” Wouldn’t exactly say that was positive, would you?
Enough of my bantering back and forth with you. Let’s just call it a major difference of opinion. I wish you well and hope under the new administration that West Rocks teachers and staff are treated with professionalism and a positive climate in school environment is restored as well as the students feeling validated ready to take on new educational challenges.

Elisabeth B August 13, 2018 at 8:01 am

West Rocks Teacher,

Just as an FYI Dr. Moore’s meeting was Thursday afternoon. Not Friday. Also, I wish you would post under your real name. It’s hard to trust the opinions of someone hiding their identity.

West Rocks Teacher August 13, 2018 at 12:33 pm

@Elizabeth B, although I’d love to post under my real name, it’s not Elizabeth so it’s not one of the most common names in western civilization. Remember in past posts when several commenters said WR staff was afraid to post under our own identities because we were afraid of central office. Not true for me. Dr. Moore is not far enough away for me to feel safe doing that yet. Maybe next time.

@ Dolores, thank you. Looking forward to working in a positive, professional environment. Positive for the students and positive for the staff.

Mike Lyons August 13, 2018 at 2:15 pm

Just to set the record straight on the email to parents and staff, the parent email was sent in batches starting at 3:26 pm and ending at 4:17 pm. The teacher email was sent at 4:05 pm. The NFT president sent an email at 7:06 pm claiming the teachers had not been notified (hours after they had been, behind some of the parents but before others, all within 51 minutes of each other in mid-afternoon (this is all confirmed by time stamps in NPS’s Outlook system)). The statement above claiming that the teacher email wasn’t sent until after the union president complained is false, as is the accusation that Ms. Williams lied about it.

MarjorieM August 13, 2018 at 2:59 pm

Do we need a fact checker? Perhaps Snopes could have a Norwalk branch?

Also, Mike Lyons, giving the new superintendent a list of the “Four Horsemen” whom you felt were objectionable was a hit list. Fact checkers can read the Fensore emails she subpoenaed to find out for yourself.

Bruce Kimmel August 13, 2018 at 3:44 pm

I believe the short delay in sending the email to the teachers was caused by the updates taking place on that list — as the changes in the teaching staff for the coming year were incorporated.

Mike Lyons August 13, 2018 at 6:14 pm

Marj, fact checkers can also read the voluminous court records refuting Fensore’s claims (see https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Fensore-v-Lyons-17-0714-memo-in-support-of-motion-for-summary-judgement-1.pdf) and the judicial decision dismissing half of her claims because my statements were protected by the First Amendment (a motion to dismiss the remaining claims was pending when the Board settled the case to avoid high costs of trial) – see https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Fensore-v-Lyons-17-0114-decision-on-motion-to-strike.pdf.

You have an interesting definition of “hit list”. Apparently, noting for an incoming superintendent who the people are who had led the fight against needed reforms isn’t allowed in your world, Marj — we should have just sat back and let them do to Adamowski what they had done to Marks and Rivera. Since Marj views the purpose of a school system as providing highly paid compensation to employees irrespective of performance, it is clear why she has been one of the obstructionists’ top ‘spokesmen’ on NON for years. Those who think educating the kids is the purpose of a school system take a different point of view.

Sue L. August 13, 2018 at 7:41 pm

Well said, Mike Lyons! There is so much negative talk about central office and BOE which I find ridiculous because these are leaders who are advocating for students! Based on what I have witnessed around the district, the negative talk comes from those who do not want change, do not want to put in a little more work to make our education system better, and/or don’t like to take orders from others regardless of the positive outcomes. Finally, whoever yells the loudest does not get their way this time! Kudos to Dr. Adamowski and the BOE for standing their ground and for fighting for our children! Keep up the great work!

David August 16, 2018 at 9:26 am

My child is at West Rocks, there have been some issues faced, but the staff have treated them seriously – for that we are relieved, as we have heard horror stories from other school districts, how problems were ignored to the point of kids being pulled from the school.

I knew Dr. Moore was aware of the issues and I knew I could escalate to her if needs be.

The school was well ordered, and as others have pointed out, the scores were Norwalk’s highest. Many people, obviously, deserve credit for that.

My point is this: Adamowski and the board of Ed now OWN this. If, as was mentioned by some posting as teachers, Dr. Moore was an inhibitor to achieving better performance, and created a hostile work environment, then we parents expect to see an improvement. If, however, the school and students regress rather than progress, under new leadership, we parents will make sure it gets pinned to every resume Adamowski submits to every future job.

For my part, I want to give the BOE the benefit of the doubt on this one. Norwalk schools have come a long way in the past 10 years or so. Positive, and in the right direction, with a recognition of more to be done. Middle school achievement determines high school opportunities, which determines college options which determines a students future.

So, to all of those who supported or participated in this change: Get this one right. Because it will be watched intensely.

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