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Amaker named Norwalk Early College Academy director

NORWALK, Conn. – The director for the new Norwalk Early College Academy — the state’s first P-Tech Academy – is the best choice available from 57 applicants, even if she’s already working in Norwalk, Norwalk Superintendent Manny Rivera said.

Norwalk High School D-House Headmaster Karen Amaker was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Board of Education to lead the innovative six-year “school within a school” for 100 high school freshmen next fall. BoE member Sherelle Harris called her a “wonderful, wonderful recommendation.”

“She can speak the language of many different types of people,” Harris said.

Rivera said a screening committee that included representatives of Norwalk Community College and IBM, Norwalk’s partners in the academy, selected five candidates from the pool of 57. The committee also included two parents, two teachers and Norwalk Public Schools administrators, he said.

The committee advanced two candidates, who Rivera interviewed, he said.

Amaker did a terrific job as headmaster and was an excellent guidance counselor, he said, describing her as “very bright, highly organized, very skilled.”

“She’ll make a terrific leader, and I know the committee unanimously had confidence in her and I certainly have confidence in her. … I have come to know her as someone who delivers,” Rivera said.

BoE member Rosa Murray agreed Amaker is great but wanted to know how the resultant hole at Norwalk High would be filled.

Rivera said the job would be posted right away, and that some of the applicants for the director’s job might be considered. There have also been applicants for a headmaster job at Brien McMahon High School, he said.

“We’ve been very fortunate to be drawing some excellent applicants for our administrative openings here,” he said.

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