New Norwalk superintendent has strong majority support

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The search for a Norwalk superintendent has come to a close. Details to be announced.

NORWALK, Conn. – Interim Norwalk Schools Superintendent Tony Daddona was not among the finalists considered by the Board of Education to become the next permanent superintendent, according to reliable sources. In addition, the announcement of a new superintendent of Norwalk schools has officially been delayed until July 2 — but, who knows, you might find out sooner than that.

The delay is necessary because a 2008 federal settlement between the BOE and the Norwalk Federation of Teachers calls for the union to be informed of the  choice for a new superintendent four days before the official offer is made.

Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons said Thursday there is no legal provision in that agreement keeping NFT President Bruce Mellion from revealing the name once he knows who the board selected. BOE members signed a confidentiality agreement with the search firm PROACT, but Mellion did not.

Lyons confirmed that the hoped-for June 25 announcement had been kyboshed.

“Due to the union agreement, I’ll have to push it off to July 2.  That’s fine, it’ll make the process less rushed,” he said in an email.

Mellion could have invoked that legal provision when Daddona was given a $35,000-a-year raise to become the interim superintendent, but he didn’t, although at least one board member advocated searching for someone else to do the job.

Mellion did not return an email asking why he had waited until Tuesday to remind the board that it had a legal obligation to inform the NFT of its choice before offering someone a contract.

Board member Artie Kassimis said Thursday evening that the selected candidate had accepted the offer.

While Lyons said there had been no site visit — a visit to the selected superintendent’s school district — he also said it was still possible board members might do one.

Some people had speculated that the board’s vote on the new superintendent would be close, a 5-4 selection. A reliable source said that wasn’t the case.

Two members who are not usually allies argued to keep the process confidential, the source said, with both sides offering valid arguments.

Daddona was praised at Thursday’s Republican Town Committee meeting.

“Back in August, when Dr. Marks resigned, we all got together and decided to put Tony Daddona as the interim,” Kassimis said. “We asked him to do one thing: ‘Please bring some peace and calm to the district. Run it so we can find a superintendent.’ I just want to say publicly that he has done that. He has done a great job and I just want to thank him.”


8 responses to “New Norwalk superintendent has strong majority support”

  1. M. Murray’s

    I think your information is pretty close on this one. Although that doesn’t mean that the board wasn’t severely split on this one. If it was a done deal with a 5 person voting block, others may have just agreed in the end so there wouldn’t be a 5-4 vote if the information leaked out. this could give a feigned united front for the new Superintendent. Interesting that individual board members might do a site visit after an offer has been made and accepted. What would they do if they went down and heard things that they didn’t like? Now it is up to individual persons an union membership to do their own checks and site visits to delve into the professional and personal background of this individual to see if their are any issues that need to be brought to the forefront.

  2. BSmith

    Daddona has been propped up and Bruce Mellion has given him peace and calm. Mellion wants Daddona to stay since he knows nothing much will happen when Daddona is around.

  3. Oldtimer

    If they give anybody a contract for that kind of money without sending somebody to ask a few questions, they are taking a crap shoot with taxpayer money. They have access to a background investigation if only Mike Lyons admits he doesn’t know everything and asks for help. Once Bruce Mellion has the name, you can bet he isn’t too proud to ask for a little local info on the candidate. With an offer made, and accepted, it may be too late to withdraw it.

  4. Piberman

    Persons familiar with executive search protocols know that on-site visits are not part of the professional search process. They can be a nice junket and generate some PR. All Norwalk citizens ought to give the BOE the benefit of performing a credible search. No matter what the vote inside the BOE it’s a BOE decision and it should be respected. NFT’s Mr. Mellion will likely have his own views but at last report he is not yet a member of the BOE. Each of our BOE members deserve our thanks for conducting the most professional Supt in recent decades. And we ought to fully respect their hiring decision.

  5. Lifelong Teacher

    Daddona has brought a sense of calm and stability that has been missing for many many years. We’ve moved forward and school leaders have been held accountable. You can’t take that away from him.

    It is a shame, and indicative of the toxic environment here in Norwalk, that we have some individuals trying desperately to discredit the new superintendent before he (or she) even shows up.

  6. Oldtimer

    “Discredit the new superintendent” ? When that person’s ID is a closely guarded secret ? How does that work ? Once his/her name is released, then you may hear from critics, based on whatever info may be discovered. I suspect most taxpayers want a new superintendent to succeed and will wait and see before leveling criticism. The noise so far has been focused on the process, not the candidates.

  7. marjoriem

    Daddona showed he is superintendent material. He presented a budge that got a unanimous vote. Lucky district that gets him!

  8. Steve Colarossi

    By taking the time to meet with parents, taxpayers and all other interested parties, Interim Supt. Daddona was able to craft a budget that let all people know that he listened to them and that he valued their input. I was honored to have worked closely with him (as I was then Finance Committee Chairman) on the community outreach efforts.
    What Mr. Daddona demonstrated is that even difficult budget years need not be filled with drama if the public is involved at all stages, a responsible plan is presented, consequences are explained factually and scare tactics aren’t employed.

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