All 12 elementary schools filled new curriculum and instruction site directors posts

Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons
Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons

NORWALK, Conn. – Back on Aug. 21, a commenter, “Will,” said the daily print paper had listed nine schools and their site directors and asked if the other three elementary schools also would have “dedicated instructional leaders to support teachers and principals as they implement the new Common Core?”

The comment was made on our story, Norwalk schools get grant for curriculum and instruction. In a NancyOnNorwalk story covering that same meeting, we focused on four other new positions in the central office and did not mention these positions.

The answer is that all 12 elementary schools have curriculum and instruction site directors, but only nine were new hires. The other three – Tisha McCoy at Rowayton, Maureen Jones at Wolfpit and Alene Lamendola Tracey – were already in the schools as assistant principals.

Here’s a list of the other nine:

  • Brookside: Theressa Rangel
  • Columbus: Jennifer Scanlan
  • Cranbury: Sandra Ehlers
  • Fox Run: Janine Goss
  • Jefferson: Sarah Carmody
  • Kendall: Jeffrey Forzani
  • Marvin: Jane Wilkins
  • Naramake: Evelyn Russo
  • Silvermine: Edward Wachowski

(Click here for relevant information on Site directors; Ms Russo’s info is presented differently because she was a later hire and the information provided was more extensive.)

According to Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons, the curriculum and instruction site directors all meet certification requirements to be assistant principals and will combine with school principals to do teacher evaluations.

“Most of their duties will not be ‘administrative’ in the sense the old APs were, but they will do evaluations,” Lyons said in answer to a question from a reader. “These are new positions that replace the assistant principals. They will not be doing the old jobs; they will be focused on curriculum and instruction (particularly implementation of the K-5 Literacy Program).”

The positions are paid for with a grant Lyons described as a multiyear grant that is subject to annual renewal based on meeting the grant objectives.




8 responses to “All 12 elementary schools filled new curriculum and instruction site directors posts”

  1. Mike

    I researched the appointments. Their college majors don’t match the job requirements. Those who were vice principals who are now core curriculum specialists don’t belong in that position, except maybe one. Do hey still run the special education intake and review process as the VP position did? (Not sure of what these meetings are technically called)

  2. Each individual hired for these positions went through a rigorous process that included an initial review of qualifications, a central office committee interview that reviewed qualified candidates, and a school based interview committee in accordance with the Diversity Employment Plan. The finalists, in turn, were referred to the Superintendent of Schools who conducted a final interview of the candidates prior to their being recommended for appointment to the Board of Education. In addition, reference and background checks were completed for each of the selected candidates.
    Consistent with the job posting for the Curriculum and Instruction Site Director position, each of the selected candidates:
    1. Possesses an administrative certification (Intermediate Administrator 092) from the State of Connecticut;
    2. At least five (5) years of demonstrated superior performance as a classroom teacher. (Some elementary experience preferred.);
    3. Knowledge of curriculum and curriculum development;
    4. Experience as a leader of professional development (which was preferred);
    5. Ability to relate to parents and students of varied socio-economic and culturally-diverse backgrounds; and
    6. Such alternatives to the above qualifications as the Superintendent may find appropriate and acceptable.
    In fact, the combined average of the candidates selected is fourteen (14) years of teaching which far exceeds the minimum. Further, although the college majors of these individuals is not related to the essential duties of this job title, each of these individuals hold advanced degrees in education or related fields from accredited colleges and universities. While virtually all of these candidates had leadership experience, it was not a requirement of the position.
    In terms of the special education intake process, the Special Education Department is responsible for ensuring that all students who require IEP’s of 504 Plans are addressed in accordance with State and federal laws. We have recently beefed up the Special Education department to assure that this is done properly (see https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2014/06/norwalk-boe-approves-plan-to-restore-decimated-central-office-beef-up-special-ed) and hired a new director of special education (https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2014/05/norwalk-public-schools-name-special-ed-administrator-facilities-chief).

  3. MarjorieM

    Kendall lists Forzani as an Assistant Principal. Many other school sites have outdated lists. You state that the Jefferson Director is Carmody, but the Assistant Principal is Gallagher. I could go on…….Are you sure the principals got the message about these Directors of Curriculum? Sure seems sloppy to me.

  4. The individual schools’ web sites have been inconsistently updated (being locally run); some are up to date and some are not. Our web focus last year was on getting the new main web site up (along with activating Facebook and Twitter accounts) and getting the parent portal for student work and grades working. We also improved parent communication (email, texting) for emergency and then non-emergency matters, and got Board meeting videotapes up first on Cablevision and now also on YouTube.
    I agree that the local school web sites are spotty at best. That is an objective for our Communications and IT folks for this school year – getting them up to speed.
    The principals know who their Curriculum people are — they participated in the selection process and have had many internal meetings with Dr. Rivera and Tony Daddona on this. They got that information directly, not from web sites.

  5. Kathleen Montgomery

    I’ve been working in education for 40 years including teacher preparation programs in higher education, both undergraduate and graduate. My doctoral degree is in Curriculum and Instruction. This is an impressive group of C&I site directors hired via a rigorous process. I congratulate the BOE and Dr. Rivera for making smart decisions to help ensure that the Common Core will succeed. So many districts across the nation lack the insight to implement the Common Core Curriculum the way it should be to maximize student achievement. Kudos to all these site directors.

  6. MarjorieM

    Kathleen, how do you view a degree in Instructional Technology, ESL, Bilingual Education, former experience as an Assistant Principal, Early Childhood Education, etc. relevant to expertise in Core Curriculum? That’s all the information we have been given. We don’t know anything more. The posting for the job didn’t include anything about Core Curriculum. It seems to me that it will take a full year to get these people up to speed on being curriculum experts, except for one appointment who appears to be ready to hit the road running. How can you blindly state that these people are an impressive group? It is disingenuous. To make that comment without any information on their ability to teach teachers about the latest requirements.

  7. Kathleen Montgomery

    MarjorieM: This is a good thing. That you feel it is “sloppy” and my view is disingenuous does not make this less of an accomplishment on the part of the district. My congratulations to all involved still stands.

    Here’s why: Curriculum and instruction is an advanced degree and the teachers who pursue C & I come from a variety of undergraduate degree programs. These particular site directors will focus on C&I with an emphasis on the implementation of the K-5 Literacy Program. While Core Curriculum was not specifically mentioned in the job description, the strategic plan developed by Dr. Rivera shows that K-5 Literacy will be targeted in this school year. A good website to view the K-5 literacy progression can be found at http://ctcorestandards.org/?page_id=2 and this includes a library of valuable resources for teachers. To my knowledge most (if not all) elementary teachers have been given arduous professional development training on implementation of the Common Core Standards and some have been given additional coaching training to help teachers at their school. I’m pretty sure that the interview process revealed the qualifications of interviewees in these aspects.

    This brings us to the understanding of why these site coordinators are highly qualified in my view. The Common Core Standards established guidelines for English language arts as well as for literacy in history/social studies, science and technical subjects. The job description asked that candidates for the position have the ability to relate to parents and students of varied socio-economic and culturally-diverse backgrounds. In other words, the district strives to meet the needs of all children in all subjects. The advance degrees of the site coordinators are in : Elementary and Special Education, Early Childhood Education, Instructional Technology, Bilingual Education, Multicultural Education, Inclusive Elementary and Special Education. All of these degrees relate very well to the Common Core Standards you can find on the link above. And, perhaps the most important criterion, they each have been rated superior over several years of teaching.

    Is it a slam dunk? No. Are all the pieces in place for success in this endeavor. I say Yes. Darn fine job.

  8. MarjorieM

    Time will tell, Kathleen. We have had Reading Recovery teachers and Literacy Teachers, etc.
    Did they last? No. Did they make a difference in the long run? No. Now we have Curriculum and Instruction Directors in place of Assistant Principals. This time they were shifted from local funds to a grant. Interesting. What’s next? I suppose the next superintendent will have his/her own catchy titles for these people.

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